The board of directors of Sonali Life Insurance has taken decisive action by suspending its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mir Rashed Bin Aman, following allegations of misappropriation of funds. The announcement comes just 15 days after the initiation of a regulatory audit, prompted by concerns raised by the Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority (IDRA).
In a recent meeting, the board also resolved to establish an Investigation Committee to conduct a thorough inquiry into the allegations. The Chairperson of Sonali Life Insurance communicated this decision in a letter to the IDRA, affirming the company’s commitment to transparency and accountability.
The regulatory audit, initiated by IDRA and conducted by Hoda Vasi Chowdhury & Co, focuses on 17 claims of irregularities at Sonali Life. Among the allegations are concerns over the CEO’s appointment, the chairperson’s shareholding qualifications, and extravagant expenses, including the purchase of a Tk 1.7 crore luxury car and its maintenance costs from 2021 to 2023.
Furthermore, Sonali Life allegedly made payments of Tk 13.75 lakh in 2021 for taxes owed by Dragon Sweater and Spinning, a company seemingly unrelated to the insurer, except for being owned by the suspended CEO.
The audit will also scrutinize the acquisition of shares by Sonali Life directors in 2018 to boost its paid-up capital. Additionally, discrepancies in reporting life funds have been raised by an anonymous IDRA official.
Despite directives from IDRA to limit spending to essential areas, such as settling insurance claims and clearing employee salaries, the CEO was reportedly denied access to his office and the company’s software. In response, IDRA condemned these actions as illegal and against corporate governance guidelines.
CEO Mir Rashed Bin Aman, in response to the allegations, expressed disbelief and questioned why the board was not cooperating with the audit firm to investigate irregularities and corruption allegations. As of now, he claims not to have received an official letter regarding his suspension.
The IDRA has escalated the matter by seeking the intervention of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police to ensure the CEO’s security at his office, citing obstruction from certain board members involved in financial irregularities.
Zahangir Alam, spokesperson for the IDRA, stated that the board’s non-compliance with directives will prompt regulatory actions as per the law.
Sonali Life Insurance remains committed to the principles of transparency, ethical conduct, and adherence to regulatory standards. The company assures stakeholders and the public that it will fully cooperate with the ongoing investigations and take necessary actions based on the findings.
Read more exclusive write-ups from our press-release section.