The High Court on Monday formed a four-member new board to manage, control and assess the liabilities of controversial e-commerce platform Evaly.
Former Appellate Division Judge AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik will lead the board. Other members are former LGRD secretary Mohammad Rezaul Ahsan, Chartered Accountant Fakhruddin Ahmmed and Supreme Court lawyer Barrister Khan Mohammad Shameem Aziz.
Additional Secretary (OSD) Mahbub Kabir has been appointed managing director. He will be an ex officio member of the board.
Justice Muhammad Khurshid Alam Sarkar passed the order following a petition seeking liquidation of the company. Barrister Sayed Mahsib Hossain stood for the plea.
Quoting the HC, Mahsib told journalists, "The new board will call the first board meeting as soon as possible after getting a written order. It will also perform its function as a normal company Board."
The board has been directed to take charge of the company along with all records and papers. The company's all Assets will be handed to the board too, he added.
The board will find out Evaly's assets and their liabilities. If needed, it will take steps for an audit. After the audit, if the board thinks that the company is not competent to continue its operation, it will decide to wind up the controversial e-commerce platform, he noted.
Earlier, a plea was filed by a disgruntled customer named Md Farhad Hossen seeking court directives for winding up Evaly. He demanded a refund from the liquidation of Evaly's property.
On 30 September, the court directed the registrar of the Joint Stock Companies and Firms to submit the papers of Evaly.
The court also put a moratorium on the sale or transfer of all movable and immovable properties of Evaly.
Later, the judge said the court would form a four-member board – with a former judge, a chartered accountant, a secretary and a lawyer – to assess the liabilities of Evaly.
On 13 October, the commerce ministry proposed the names of three former secretaries for the board.
According to Evaly's own assessment, it has assets amounting to Tk121 crore, while it owes customers and merchants more than Tk1,000 crore.
The company took money in advance payments, luring people with massive discounts on products on its site and promising delivery within 7-45 days. However, many buyers are yet to receive the items they ordered even after the promised delivery deadline had ended.
In some cases, Evaly offered refund cheques to customers following their failure to deliver, but in many cases, the cheques bounced because of insufficient funds in Evaly's bank accounts.
Several cases have been filed against Evaly CEO Mohammad Rassel, and his wife Shamima Nasrin who is the chairman of the company, on allegations of embezzlement and cheque fraud. The couple was arrested on 16 September.
Meanwhile, the 15-member committee formed by the cabinet division held its first meeting on Monday. Additional Commerce Secretary AHM Shafiquzzaman, the head of the committee, presided over the meeting, which was attended by other members too.
After the meeting Shafiquzzaman told the media, "We will send our recommendations, on how customers' money can be recovered from the errant e-commerce companies, to the cabinet division within the next one month."
They will also suggest how e-commerce platforms can be brought under registration and interoperability can be ensured, he also said.
Shafiquzzaman also said, "We will also inform the cabinet division as to what should be done to protect the interests of aggrieved e-commerce consumers and merchants."
A plan on how e-commerce companies can be controlled, supervised and monitored in the future should also be sent to the cabinet division, he said, adding that they will also find out ways to monitor financial transactions of all e-commerce companies from one place.
The committee will also send a recommendation to the cabinet division on how to bring e-commerce companies under VAT.
After getting the recommendations, the highest level of government or policymakers will determine necessary policies or other guidelines to streamline the e-commerce sector, Shafiquzzaman noted.
The events that have already taken place have hurt the e-commerce sector. These steps have been taken to overcome this loss and move the sector forward in the future.