Posts and Telecommunications Minister Mustafa Jabbar has stressed the importance of taking tough action against the digital criminals involved in e-commerce frauds.
Speaking at a webinar titled "E-commerce: Current Situation and Possibilities'' on Saturday, he said digital criminals should be brought to book at the earliest to curb such crimes.
The minister's remark came as Nagad, the mobile financial service arm of Bangladesh Post Office, has taken a move recently to suspend some accounts temporarily for suspicious e-commerce transactions and forward the accounts information to law enforcement agencies.
"The way criminals are using technology for digital crimes we should use superior technology to curb those crimes. To prevent digital crimes, we need digital measures as Nagad did," the minister said.
"If we cannot tackle the digital criminals, then they'll grow manifold, and such crimes will increase exponentially," he added.
Head of Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) Abu Hena Mohd Razee Hassan, additional deputy commissioner (ADC) of Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) Md Towhidul Islam, general secretary of the e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB) Muhammad Abdul Wahed Tomal and Nagad chief operating officer Ashish Chakraborty joined the webinar. Nagad chief public affairs officer Solaiman Shukhon moderated the event.
Mustaf Jabbar said the government wants a digital society which is free from criminal activities. "Nagad is a service of the Postal Department. So, we can assure you from the government side that the law enforcement agencies will get the highest level of support from us in dealing with the digital criminals."
Under the money-laundering law, Abu Hena Mohammad Razee Hassan said, there is a provision of 4 to 12 years of prison sentence and impose fine up to double of the sum of the money laundered.
"Under this law, any organisation or individual is bound to provide relevant information like how much money is transferred to where and to whom. The organisations and institutions also have an obligation to provide any suspicious transaction voluntarily. After analysing such transaction patterns, we send those to law enforcement agencies for necessary action," he said.
Ashish Chakraborty said they can only share the list of the suspicious account details, but the rest of the work will have to be done by the law enforcement agencies.
Under these suspicious accounts, he said, there could be some accounts which might not be involved in any criminal activities. "We've suspended those accounts too for now. The law enforcement agencies will decide the matter now."
"We're hopeful of taking next steps in accordance with the BFIU and law enforcement agencies. We're also observing those involved in such crimes and running propaganda against Nagad," Ashish said.
Towhidul Islam of CTTC said law enforcers can take action against the offenders of such crimes under the section 22 and 23 of the Digital Security Act and the Panel Act, though police were not made a party in the 2018 e-commerce guidelines. "Customers can lodge complaints with police stations and the criminals could face punishment of 2 to 7 years of jail sentence."
Abdul Wahed Tomal said it is the right time to take action against those e-commerce firms involved in fraudulent activities and the corrupt businessmen and their collaborators. "We should take a zero-tolerance stance against such criminals."
Recently, some suspicious transactions were observed on the platform of Bangladesh Post Office's mobile financial wing Nagad.
Nagad's AI technology detected those transactions and handed over the information to different law enforcement agencies. At the same time those accounts were suspended temporarily. An official complaint was also lodged with the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) in this connection.