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Tarique, Koko laundered $1b in Belgium, Malaysia: PM

She slams Khaleda for Padma Bridge remarks, calls her mad

Published : Thursday, 11 January, 2018 at 12:00 AM Count : 136

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday told the parliament that Khaleda Zia's two sons laundered a total USD1.0 billion of which $750 million in Belgium and $ 250 million in Malaysia.
She told this in reply to a lawmaker's queries Sheikh Hasina, also leader of the House, said Khaleda Zia's two sons-Tarique Rahman and Arafat Rahman Koko-have houses worth several million USD in Dubai and markets and other assets in Saudi Arabia.
In scripted answer the Prime Minister said the persons who were involved in looting and laundering public money will be brought to book.
With the scripted reply, the PM tagged 152 pages of documents including news articles and social media sources in support of her allegation.
"I want to say clearly that no one will be allowed anymore to siphon off the country's assets," Hasina said while responding to a question of reserved seat lawmaker Fazilatun Nasa Bappy.
The premier also disclosed names of 50 Bangladeshis and a company, including BNP leader Abdul Awal Mintoo, Awami League Presidium Member Kazi Zafarullah and his wife Nilufar Zafarullah, whose names were included in the Paradise Papers scam for siphoning off money.
The other names are: Nasreen Fatema Awal, Tabith Awal, Tafsir Mohammad Awal, Kafil HS Mueed, Mehbub Chowdhury, Yusuf Raihan Reza, Eshrak Ahmed, Novera Chowdhury, Farhad Goni Mohammad, Bilkis Fatema Jesmin, Rozer Berg, Abul Bashar, Zain Umar, Benzir Ahmed, Mokmedul Islam, Motazzarul Islam, Afzalur Rahman, Sudhir Mallick, Jiban Kumar Sarker, Nizam M Selim, M Selimuzzman, Syed Sirajul Haque, FM Zobaidul Haque, Salma Haque, Kazi Raihan Jafar, Aminul Haque, Najim Asadul Haque, Tarik Ekramul Haque, Capt. M A Zaul, Shahed Masud, Khawza Shahadat Ullah, Dilip Kumar Modi, Syed Samina Mirza, Faisal Kareem Khan, Julfikar Haider, Umme Rubana, Ajmat Moyeen, Nazrul Islam, Jahidul Islam, Jafar Umid Khan, Asma Monem, ASM Mahiuddin Monem, AFM Rahmatul Bari, Mahtab Uddin Chowdhury, Faisal Chowdhury and Ahmed Samir and the organisation's name is Bangla Track Limited.
Claiming that Tarique Rahman siphoned off a lot of money out of the country, Hasina said he and his business partner Giasuddin Al Mamun jointly laundered some Tk 21 crore to CTNA Bank of Singapore in exchange for awarding contract to a foreign company.
"Not only Bangladesh but also FBI investigated the matter. Some Tk 6 crore was found at Nat West Bank in London the same way," she claimed.
"If there's any false allegation [in the news], the persons concerned will definitely contest it," she said, adding that the Awami League government contested the corruption allegation placed against it about the Padma Bridge project. "We challenged the corruption allegation and contested it, and finally it was proved that no corruption was there," she claimed.
The prime minister said, "I want to say unequivocally that the public assets of this country will not be allowed to be plundered and siphoned off any more. Such misdeeds will be divulged through investigation and legal action will be taken against those guilty."
She said work is on to find out who siphoned off the money and how the money can be brought back.
Responding to a supplementary question from ruling party MP Tajul Islam, the Prime Minister said if BNP tries to thwart the next parliamentary elections, people will resist them like they did during the 2014 national election.
"Despite BNP's resistance, people cast votes in the 2014 election and the voter turnout was around 40 percent," Hasina said.
Following Khaleda Zia's remarks that the construction of the Padma Bridge is nothing but a patchwork, Hasina has once again questioned her intelligence, but this time in the parliament.
Last week at an event of the student wing Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal, the BNP chief compared the construction of the 'dream bridge' with 'patchwork'. She had advised everyone not to use it as it would be 'fragile' if the Awami League government completed it.
"Yes, it's true in one sense, as every single part of the bridge is made at a time. She, who has no knowledge about how a thing is built, has no brains," the prime minister had retorted a day later in reaction to Khaleda's comments.
During parliament proceedings Wednesday, Hasina said: "Such comments should not be paid heed to because a person with a sound mind cannot say such things.
"After all, there is a Bangla proverb that (if roughly translated into English) a mad person can say anything and everything while a goat can eat anything and everything," she said in response to a question of Fazilatun Nasa Bappy MP during the question-answer session.
The construction of Bangladesh's largest infrastructure started in December 2015 at an estimated cost of around Tk 300 billion.
Bangladesh is building the six-kilometre bridge over the Padma River after leaving the World Bank out of the project following complexities over corruption allegations.

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