World Bank approves $570mn for Bangladesh

World Bank, Bangladesh

The World Bank has approved $570 million for two projects in Bangladesh to improve health, nutrition and population services and strengthen the country’s public procurement.

The $515 million Health Sector Support Project will strengthen the country’s health system and improve quality and coverage of essential service delivery, with a focus on Sylhet and Chittagong divisions, Xinhua news agency reported.

Key health indicators are below national average in Sylhet and Chittagong, said the Washington-based lender in a statement on Saturday.

The $55 million Digitizing Implementation Monitoring and Public Procurement Project will help Bangladesh improve public procurement performance, including its capacity to monitor implementation of development projects and programmes using digital technology, it said.

Bangladesh spends over $7 billion a year on public procurement, which constitutes about 70 per cent of the annual development programme.

According to the bank, the Health Sector Support Project aims to increase the number of mothers receiving quality delivery care in public health facilities to at least 146,000 mothers annually in the two regions.

It will also provide basic immunization to nearly five million children.

“The World Bank and the government have been working together for years to improve the health sector and public procurement performance,” said Qimiao Fan, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal.

“These two projects will help further progress towards better health outcomes and optimal use of public resources through an effective public procurement and monitoring system. This will benefit the entire nation and support Bangladesh’s journey to becoming an upper middle-income country,” he said.

 

 

[“source-thestatesman”]

Bangladesh Asks New York Fed, Philippines to Help Retrieve Stolen Money

Bangladesh Asks New York Fed, Philippines to Help Retrieve Stolen Money

The new governor of Bangladesh’s central bank has sent formal letters to the New York Fed, as well as central bank and money laundering chiefs in the Philippines, asking them to help recover its stolen $81 million, a senior central bank official said on Sunday.

The news came as Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith said the government was waiting to hear the recommendations of an investigation committee to decide whether the central bank should file a suit against the Fed after one of the biggest cyber-heists in history.

Unknown hackers breached the computer systems of Bangladesh Bank in early February and attempted to steal $951 million from its account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which it uses for international settlements.

Some attempted transfers were blocked, but $81 million was transferred to accounts in the Philippines belonging to casino operators.

The central bank official told Reuters that Fazle Kabir, who became governor a week ago, had asked the NY Fed chief and the heads of the Philippines central bank and money laundering agency to assist Bangladesh in retrieving the funds.

Kabir asked the Fed to investigate if there had been any lapses or whether it had any involvement in the heist, the official said.

Kabir sent separate letters to the ambassador of Bangladesh at the UN headquarters, and its permanent representative, urging them to pursue the NY Fed.

The previous central bank governor, Atiur Rahman, resigned earlier this month after details emerged in the Philippines that $30 million of the money was delivered in cash to a casino junket operator in Manila, while the rest went to two casinos.

“In his letters the new governor sought all kind of help from them to retrieve the stolen money as we are following multiple efforts for the sake of the country,” the official said.

Last week Bangladesh also formally sought assistance from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation to track down the cyber-crooks.

Bangladesh has appointed law firms to weigh its options vis-a-vis the NY Fed.

“We will wait till the recommendations of the government- formed investigation committee,” Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith told Reuters on Sunday, referring to a three-member committee headed by Mohammad Farash Uddin, a former central bank governor.

“We will act as per its recommendations.”

Earlier this month Muhith said Dhaka might resort to suing the Fed to recover the money: “The Fed must take responsibility,” he said.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

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Tags: Bangladesh, Hackers, Hacking, Internet
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Bangladesh Bank Says Hackers Tried to Steal $951 Million

Bangladesh Bank Says Hackers Tried to Steal $951 Million

Bangladesh’s central bank confirmed on Sunday that cybercriminals tried to withdraw $951 million from its US bank account, as the country’s finance minister said he first got to know of one of the biggest bank heists in history through the media.

Unknown hackers breached the computer systems of Bangladesh Bank, and transferred $81 million (roughly Rs. 542 crores) from its account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to casinos in the Philippines between Feb. 4 and Feb. 5.

(Also see:  ‘Part of $100 Million Hacked From Bangladesh Bank Recovered’)

Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith said the central bank did not inform him about the heist, and that he learned of it only a month later when news first appeared in the media.

“I am very much unhappy about the handling of the issue,” he told reporters in his office in Dhaka.

He said he planned to meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday and decide what action to take against central bank officials.

The cyber-heist and its global scale has left Bangladesh officials scrambling to find answers and recover the money that was lost.

The incident has also left other banks and businesses around the world eager to learn more, so they can review their own networks for signs that they are vulnerable to similar attacks or might already have been breached.

Bangladesh Bank said in a Facebook post that hackers made 35 separate requests to withdraw money from its Fed account, totaling $951 million (roughly Rs. 6,364 crores), confirming earlier reports.

Officials have said the account, used for international settlements, had billions of dollars.

Bangladesh officials expect that it would be difficult to recover the money that has already gone out of the banking channels.

Officials have said that the money that made its way to the Philippines was further diverted to casinos and then possibly on to Hong Kong.

After a meeting with the investigators and central bank officials on Sunday, Mohammad Aslam Alam, the secretary of the banking division of the ministry of finance, said recovery could take months.

But he added that the Philippines had managed to freeze $68,000, which Dhaka should be able to recover.

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), the largest opposition party, demanded the resignation of the central bank governor and the finance minister.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

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Tags: Bangladesh, Hackers, Hacking, Internet
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‘Part of $100 Million Hacked From Bangladesh Bank Recovered’

'Part of $100 Million Hacked From Bangladesh Bank Recovered'

Bangladesh’s central bank said Monday that part of almost $100 million (roughly Rs. 675 crores) allegedly stolen from a reserve account in the United States last month has been recovered.

Suspected Chinese hackers stole the money from the foreign exchange account in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on February 5, according to a central bank official and media reports.

Some of the money was then illegally transferred online to the Philippines and Sri Lanka, the central bank official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“Part of the money hacked from Bangladesh Bank’s account in a bank in the United States has been recovered,” the bank said in a statement, without disclosing the amount found.

“Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit is in contact with the anti-money laundering authorities of the Philippines to track down and bring back rest of the money,” it added.

Philippine authorities have frozen the recovered money following court orders, Bangladesh Bank said.

Bangladesh’s central bank has around $28 billion (roughly Rs. 1,88,721 crores) in foreign currency reserve.

Philippine news website Inquirer.net last week said the nation’s financial regulators were investigating what could be the single largest money laundering case ever uncovered in the country.

It reported that the $100 million was leaked into the Philippine banking system, sold to a black market foreign exchange broker and then transferred to at least three local casinos.

The amount was later sold back to the money broker and moved out to overseas accounts within days.

“The initial report is that some funds went missing in Bangladesh and the suspicion is that this bank – or the central bank of that country, itself – was hit by hackers based in China,” the Inquirer.net said, quoting an unnamed banking source.

The news portal said its findings were backed by at least three government officials and four bankers.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Hack, Hacking, Internet
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