Re: Your letter dated 29.12.2004 regarding alleged fraudulent collection of Tk. 7,30,000/- through Bank 1Clearing House and return of the said amount
Further to our letter dated 27.12.2004, we acknowledge receipt of your above-mentioned letter.
We are shocked and appalled at the unfounded and baseless allegations labeled against our Bank and would like to reply to your letter as follows:
1. That with regard to the statements made in paragraph 01 of your letter, it is re-iterated that on 12.12.2004 our customer Company 1 deposited a crossed cheque for Tk. 7,30,000.00 (Taka seven lac thirty thousand only) drawn on your bank. Upon receipt of the cheque, in good faith and without any negligence, we placed the same in the Clearing House. Subsequently, the cheque was duly honoured by your Bank and our customer withdrew the cheque amount from his account on 13.12.2004 and 14.12.2004 respectively.
Thereafter, all on a sudden, we received your letters dated 19.12.2004 and 20.12.2004 alleging fraudulent payment against duplicate cheque. Despite the duty of confidentiality towards our customer, considering the good relationship that our Bank maintains with your Bank, by letter dated 27.12.2004 we provided the particulars of our customer to you.
Now, by your instant letter, you have stated that the cheque was honoured by your Bank because it was “apparently in order” and in consideration of the good fame enjoyed by our Bank. In this regard, please note that the good fame of our Bank cannot be a reason for honoring a fraudulent cheque.
2. That with regard to the statements made in paragraph 02 of your letter, it is stated that the customer withdrew the cheque amount from his account on 13.12.2004 and 14.12.2004 respectively, and your Bank informed us about the alleged fraudulent transaction only on 19.12.2004 and 20.12.2004. Hence, the question of stopping withdrawal of the cheque amount by our client or returning the said amount to your bank, as requested by you, does not arise.
3. That in reply to the statements made in paragraph 03 of your letter, we would like to refer to section 131 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 (the “Act”) which deals with non-liability of banker receiving payment of cheque. The section is quoted below:
“131. Non-liability of banker receiving payment of Cheque – Subject to the provisions of this Act relating to cheques crossed “account payee”, where a banker in good faith and without negligence receives payment for a customer of a cheque crossed generally or specially to himself, and the customer has no title or a defective title thereto, the banker shall not incur any liability to the true owner of the cheque by reason only of having received such payment.
Explanation– A banker receives payment of a crossed cheque for a customer within the meaning of this section notwithstanding that he credit his customer’s account with the amount of the cheque before receiving payment thereof.”
In this connection, we would like to bring the following facts to your notice:
(i) Our Bank acted in good faith and without negligence in receiving payment.
(ii) Our Bank received payment for a customer on his behalf and thus acted as a mere agent in collection of the cheque and not as an account holder.
(iii) The person for whom our Bank acted is our Bank’s customer.
(iv) The cheque in question was a crossed cheque.
Moreover, as admitted in your letter, the cheque was “apparently in order”. In such a situation, our Bank as collecting banker comes within the purview of section 131 of the Act and is legally entitled to be protected under said section.
4. That regarding the statements made in paragraph 04 of your letter, it is stated that there was no negligence on the part of the Bank in opening the account of the customer in question. Hence, the explanation of the word “Negligence” as quoted in your letter is not applicable to our Bank.
5. That with regard to the statements made in paragraph 05 of your letter, it is categorically denied that our Bank is deprived of the legal protection under section 131 of the Act or that it is involved in any activity which may be an offence under the Money laundering Prevention Act, 2002 or any other law. From your statements in the said paragraph, it appears that you have calculatively made out a fabricated story with the ulterior motive of making illegal gain from our Bank for which you are liable to be prosecuted criminally.
6. That so far as your statements in paragraph 06 of the letter is concerned, we would like to inform you that as a scheduled bank conducting banking business in Bangladesh, our Bank is fully aware of its obligations and carries on business in strict compliance of the relevant laws including the Money laundering Prevention Act, 2002 and the Circulars of Bangladesh Bank mentioned in the paragraph. The allegations raised in the said paragraph regarding our Bank’s involvement in the alleged fraudulent transaction is vehemently denied by our Bank. The said allegations coming from the part of a bank is not only deplorable but also detestable.
In view of the above facts and circumstances, instead of jeopardizing the good relationship between our banks, by making unfounded and baseless allegations, you are requested to seek appropriate recourse against the actual perpetrators of the alleged fraudulent transaction.
For: “The Lawyers & Jurists”