Illegal courier service companies involved in criminal activities

The Financial Institutions Division has ordered for an urgent shutdown of some 972 courier service companies across the country as they are operating business illegally depriving the government of huge amount of revenue. Besides, prior approval of the central bank has also been made mandatory for running operation of such companies as there are allegations of involvement in criminal activities against many of them.

Shahadat Hossain, Additional Secretary, Postal and Telecommunication Department told the Bangladesh Post that anyone willing to run a courier service company in the country must follow the Mailing Operation and Courier Service Rules, 2013. Or else, no one can do business in this sector. “We’re working to detect all the illegally operating courier service companies. All the illegal companies will be punished as per law. The illegal companies must take license form the government,” he added.

There are allegations that although the people are benefitted from the courier service, various types of crimes are being committed, including criminal activities, such as bribery, extortion, fraud, drug trafficking and money laundering. It is alleged that unauthorized courier services are illegally transferring money through public and private banks, insurance company postings and exchange of goods.

The government is also deprived of huge amount of revenue for their illegally operated business. And no information is sent to the sender and receiver for sending money through this service. A high official of the Financial Institutions Division said that terrorists are already making financial transactions using illegal courier service. No financial transaction business can be done without the approval of Bangladesh Bank. Courier services are making financial transactions. Therefore, they also have to seek the approval of the central bank.

If an organization makes financial transactions without the approval of Bangladesh Bank, it will be considered illegal. But courier service companies are conducting financial transaction business activities without the approval of the central bank, he added. Senior Secretary of the Financial Institutions Division Asadul Islam said that BTRC will have to take initiative to ensure that courier service companies can verify the information of their customers with NID.

In order to ensure that money laundering or illegal transactions are not carried out in the operation of their activities, the postal department will have to take steps by keeping in contact with Bangladesh Bank.