E-commerce became very popular as people were under house arrest due to the corona. The companies are talking about taking various services including products to the doorsteps of the consumers. However, everything was tarnished by some dishonest traders. Millions of customers have lost money due to corruption and fraud. Many are gone. Corruption in the e-commerce sector is at the top of the agenda from mid-2021 to the end of the year.
Due to the big fraud of the company called Evali, the people of the country are worried about the corruption in the e-commerce sector of the country. One by one, allegations of various irregularities came up against about half a hundred e-commerce companies including e-Orange, Cucom, Alesha Mart, Dhamaka. As a result, the surveillance agencies of the government sat motionless in the end.
According to industry insiders, companies started cheating people in the form of multi-marketing or MLM. With a lucrative offer, he grabbed around four thousand crore rupees in a few months. However, as Tk 514 crore was in the gateway, Bangladesh Bank was able to block it. There are allegations that the four thousand crore rupees have been smuggled abroad.
Law enforcement agencies across the country began arresting the owners of the accused companies in protest and lawsuits over e-commerce corruption. However, investors are spending their days in extreme frustration of not getting their money back. Many have filed lawsuits against corrupt e-commerce entrepreneurs.
Mohammad Russell, managing director of Evali, and Shamima Nasreen, wife of Russell, chairman of the company, are currently in jail on charges of financial irregularities and fraud. Former appellate court judge AHM Samsuddin Chowdhury Manik, head of the court-appointed management committee on Evali, told the media that Russell had smuggled nearly Rs 1,000 crore into Dubai.
According to the Ministry of Commerce and e-commerce organization e-Cab, there are currently more than two and a half thousand e-commerce sites in the country. Apart from this, about two lakh entrepreneurs are doing business through Facebook or F-Commerce. At present, the scope of these is about 22 thousand 360 crore rupees.
According to e-Cab, the fastest-growing category in e-commerce is fashion. Its market size is around seven thousand crore rupees. The market scope of the grocery (grocery) category is 6 crore rupees.
Growth in the international e-commerce market is 74 percent. By 2028, this market will stand at four thousand 720 billion dollars.
Citing data from Bangladesh Bank, e-Cab General Manager Jahangir Alam Shovon told that about Tk 6,000 crore was transacted in the e-commerce sector from February to June this year. Of these, 80 percent or more than four thousand crore rupees have been risky transactions and irregularities. Among the risky transactions, Tk 514 crore is stuck in the bank. He said that most of the transactions in this risky model business are in the three months from February to April.
33 organizations involved in fraud
In the first week of November, three intelligence agencies provided the Commerce Ministry with a list of companies involved in fraud in the name of e-commerce business. There are 33 organizations involved in the fraud. However, the ministry did not disclose the name of any company in the intelligence file.
Jahangir Alam Shovon, general manager of e-Cab, said that according to various government intelligence agencies, 33 companies were on the risk list. Of these, CID is investigating allegations against 11 organizations and has filed cases against four of them.
E-Orange: On August 17, 2021, hundreds of people protested by blocking the road of Gulshan-1. It was later learned that they had been deceived by the local e-commerce company e-Orange Shop. Complaints arose that goods worth crores of rupees were not delivered. After that, the law enforcement forces arrested Sonia Mehzabin, the owner of e-Orange, and her husband Masukur Rahman along with some others for embezzling customers’ money.
Kyokum: Ripon Miao, CEO of this e-commerce company, is now in jail on fraud charges. The company is also accused of embezzling consumer money. RJ Nirab, who joined the company as Head of Sales Communication and Public Relations, had to go to jail.
Alesha Mart: In the fifth phase of the campaign to sell various products including motorcycles at special discounts, Alesha Mart failed to deliver motorcycles to the order of 7,300 customers. In contrast to these orders, customers have stuck at least Tk 200 crore in the e-commerce company. In such a situation, Alesha Mart announced the closure of official activities in December due to adequate security issues.
Bangladesh Bank recently directed to release the money to e-commerce customers stuck in payment gateways after Evalikand. But due to the lack of up-to-date information on the cases against the institutions, there was a complication in releasing the money. In this situation, the Commerce Ministry has sent a letter to the police headquarters on December 21 asking for updated information on the case against the companies. The ministry has been asked to provide this information within seven days.
Rubel, a customer of Evali, told, “This is the government’s last joke of all time. Trying to get cheap popularity in the name of giving us money back. The government has no right to withhold our money. Gateway operators are taking advantage of the initiative, he said.
Experts say regulatory failure has led to widespread corruption in the e-commerce sector. One corruption after another is happening because of the incompetence of the supervisory agencies in keeping pace with the advancement of technology. “There are regulatory failures in the emerging e-commerce sector,” Supreme Court lawyer Barrister Tanjibul Alam told the press. Not just e-commerce, there are different types of transaction issues for any type of business activity. The country has laws related to transactions. I think both law enforcement and transaction monitoring agencies have failed. We have been warning the government through the media.