চোরের মা’র বড় গলা

j@shadakalo

j@shadakalo

(If you have problems reading the headline, please see this excellent page from Sachalayatan)

arafat-640x480
A magistrate’s court sent Arafat Rahman Coco, younger son of former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia to jail. Photo: Munir uz Zaman, DRIK News

Writing isn’t always easy. With competing priorities and the need to write pieces that will engage readers, sometimes I have stared at the computer for a while between sentences. But then again, sometimes the stories just pour out of me. In this case, the headline of this story was absolutely spontaneous. For the benefit of those who are not familiar with it, this is an old Bangla phrase, not my creation.

Before going into the details, lets examine the facts:

  • Siemens, a Telecom and IT giant, recently agreed to pay a US$ 1.3 billion fine to the US and German governments to settle a number of bribery charges.
  • Out of is huge amount, Siemens Bangladesh will pay US$ 500,000 to the US government to settle charges that in 2004, it bribed government officials and Arafat Rahman Koko, son of the then prime minister, Khaleda Zia
  • The government of Singapore froze assets amounting to Tk. 11,66,00,000 (eleven crore sixty six lacs) belonging to Arafat Rahman Koko.

On December 19th, one of BNP’s joint secretary-generals, claimed that this is an effort by the Anti-Corruption Commission to hurt BNP, because ACC did this briefing before any investigation. This was done at a press conference held at Mrs. Zia’s office. Conspicuously absent from this press conference was any claim that this money did not belong to Mr. Rahman, or that he had a legitimate source for this income and a legitimate and legal reason to bank this money outside Bangladesh.

On December 22, Mirza Abbas, another joint secretary-general, came back with this:

The ACC’s move to freeze the bank account of Koko, youngest son of former premier Khaleda Zia is clearly in violation of the electoral code of conduct and it also went against the interest of BNP.

This is a real headscratcher. Mr. Rahman is not a candidate in this election. How is this a violation of electoral code of conduct? Just because his mother is a former PM, he should get immunity from anti-corruption investigations?

To be fair, I agree that this may tarnish the image of BNP. But in that case, I have two pieces of advice to BNP:

  • 1. If BNP can, deny that the funds frozen in Singapore belong to Mr. Arafat Rahman
  • 2. If BNP can not deny that, explain why he was banking so much money outside the country (which is against Bangladeshi laws), and show that he paid income tax on that income

Remember: If you are not prepared to do the time, don’t commit the crime


384 Responses to “চোরের মা’র বড় গলা”

  1. Habib

    I just mention here the 19 no page from the copy of the court of columbia

    UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
    FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

    Case
    : 1 :08-cv-02167
    Assigned To
    : Leon, Richard J.
    Assign. Date : 1211212008
    Description: General Civil

    …..

    5. Mobile Telephone Services in Bangladesh
    47. Between 2004 and 2006, Siemens COM paid approximately $5.3 million in bribes to government officials in Bangladesh in connection with a contract with the Bangladesh Telegraph & Telephone Board (“BT’TB) to install mobile telephone services. The. total value of the contract was approximately $40.9 million. The payments
    ‘were made to three business consultants pursuant to sham agreements calling for services associatedwith the mobile telephone project. The ultimate recipients of the payments included the son of the then-Prime Minister in Bangladesh, the Minister of the Ministry of Posts & Telecommunicationsin Bangladesh, and the BTTB Director of Procurement. In addition, Siemens Limited Bangladesh, a regional company, hired relatives. of two other BTTB and Ministry of Post and Telecom officials. Most of the money paid to the business consultants waS routed through correspondent accounts in the United States, with at least one payment originating &om a U.S. account. Since approximately September 2004, a Siemens business consultant who served as a principal payment intermediary on the Bangladesh bribe payments has been resident in the United States. At least $1.7 million of the bribe payments made through this intermediary were paid into a Hong Kong bank account while the intermediary was residing in the United States.

    48. The involvement of senior officials at Siemens’ regional company in Bangladesh, including a former CEO and the director of the regional company’s COM division, in the bribery scheme is revealed both in statements by the officials and in internal email messages, several of which include the tagline, “kindly delete this mail once the purpose is done.”

  2. drubho

    The latest Gallup polls done today show landslide victory for the Awami League. There will be unprecedented turnout this year. Voting time may have to be extended beyond 4 PM because of long lines. Most on-the-spot sampling polls show huge countryside support for Sheikh Hasina. Even in major cities, Awami League is projected as the winner. Awami League is predicted to get over 180 seats. The victory will be by huge margin.

    The war criminals Jamaat-e-Islami is likely to be routed.

    People when asked they cited several factors for BNP’s massive defeat in the making.

    The reasons are:

    1. Alliance with war criminals Jamaat.

    2. Rampant corruption during BNP-Jamaat’s rule.

    3. Tarek and Koko’s corruption and plunder of state wealth.

    4. Terrorism sponsored by BNP-Jamaat jote.

    5. Nomination of corrupt thugs like Pinto, Abbas.

    6. Distortion of Bangladesh’s history by Jamaat and BNP.

    7. Defection of many BNP voters out of disgust for Khaleda’s liking for Jamaat leaders.

    8. Khaleda’s lying about her educational qualifications and birth certificate including false graduation and birth certificates.

    9. Politicising the bureaucracy and police by appointing corrupt and criminals in administration.

    These are just the tip of the iceberg. There are many other reasons why BNP will lose miserably on December 29, 2008.

  3. jamshed ali

    I fully agree. Even in Dhaka majority say they will vote for Hasina’s boat. Everybody will vote this time.People are leaving Dhaka in festive mood in huge numbers to cast their votes in home districts. You won’t believe it if you don’t see it with your own eyes!

    BNP will lose because of another reason. They do not have the false and fabricated over one (1) crore false votes and rogue elements like Ashraful Huda, Abdul Quayyum, Shamser Mobin Choudhury, Abdul Halim, Solaiman Choudhury, Shafiqul Islam and Haider Ali in the foreign office and administration to set up a machinery in her favour to rig the elections massively. The army will also not help them this time swap ballot boxes.
    In 2001, BNP and killer Jamaat alliance massively rigged elections. The stole as many as 80-100 seats. This time their rigging operations is doomed.

  4. Shahriar Hossain

    To Dhrubo: Let’s look for similarity with 2001 for Awami League’s loss:
    From No 2 to 6: Read Awami League in place of BNP-Jamaat, Shiekh Hasina in place of Tarek and Koko and then, for the list of godfathers, Hazari, Hazi Mokbul, Shamim Osman…. in place of Pinto, Abbas. No 9 can remain unchanged.
    My point is this: Je jai lonkai shei hoi Rabon. and the reason is simple: we cannot think beyond our divisive politics.
    To Jamshed Ali: I fully disagree with your views regarding election of 2001. When will we learn to accept defeat? I don’t know. Maybe in 3008!

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