NBR official Matiur under ACC scanner

NBR official Matiur under ACC scanner

The Anti-Corruption Commission started an inquiry against Md Matiur Rahman, president of the National Board of Revenue’s Customs, Excise, and VAT Appellate Tribunal, over allegations of amassing illegal wealth and money laundering.

There are allegations of amassing illegal wealth worth thousand crore of money in Bangladesh, and investments in Singapore, the United States, Canada, and Dubai.

The commission, at a meeting led by commission  chairman Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah on June 4 took a decision to conduct an inquiry into allegations of amassing illegal wealth by Matiur Rahman, said a director general of ACC.

Now, a three-member inquiry team of the commission is conducting a probe to find out his ill-gotten money, he added.

The allegations of amassing illegal wealth by the  NBR official came to light after a video of Matiur’s son, Mushfiqur Rahman Ifat, who bought a goat at a price of Tk 15 lakh, went viral before Eid-ul-Azha.

ACC officials said that the commission’s scrutiny cell submitted its report to the commission after analysing the graft allegations against Matiur Rahman. 

ACC director general for money laundering Md Mokammel Haque, also head of the scrutiny cell, presented the corruption allegations against him at the commission’s meeting on June 4.

It was mentioned in the scrutiny report that earlier the ACC conducted an inquiry against Matiur four times ---in 2004, 2008, 2013 and 2021—but the inquiries ended and he was given clean chit.

After discussion, the commission took the decision to initiate further inquiry into graft allegations against him.

The commission also agreed to find out the previous inquiry reports of the earlier four inquiries.

It also agreed to take departmental action for negligence against officials involved in the previous inquiries if they failed to give the earlier documents regarding Matiur.

ACC officials said that at least 15 flats and three houses in the capital had been found in the name of Matiur and his family members.

Matiur and his family owned two flats in the capital’s Segun Bagicha, one in Dhanmondi, one in Shantinagar Twin Towers, and one in Lalmatia.

They also have a seven-storey building at D Block in the Bashundhara residential area and another building jointly owned at I Block in the same area.

The ACC inquiry also found information of a shoe factory named Global Max under the ownership of Matiur on about 300 bigha of land at Bhaluka in Mymensingh and a cow farm in the Chandpur district.

Farzana Rahman Ipsita and Ahmed Taufiqur Rahman Arnab are the two children of Matiur’s first wife, Laila Kaniz.

Ipsita and Arnab are directors of Wonder Park and Eco-Resort in Morjale at Raipur in Narsingdi.

Apart from this, Apon Bhubon Picnic & Shooting Spot is located at Pubail in Gazipur under the ownership of the two children.

ACC officials also said that they had also information that Matiur also bought huge amount of wealth in the names of his relatives that was being also scrutinised by the ACC.

Matiur Rahman, hails from Muladi upazila in Barishal, joined the government job as trade cadre of the 11th batch of the Bangladesh Civil Service but later he joined the 13th batch of customs cadre by changing the trade.

His first wife, Laila Kaniz, was an associate professor at Government Titumir College.

She, however, resigned from her job and was involved in politics.  She was elected unopposed as the chairman of Raipur upazila parishad in Narsingdi in 2023.

Laila is also serving as the relief and social welfare affairs secretary of the ruling Awami League’s Narsingdi district unit.

An allegation was made that Laila amassed a huge amount of wealth, including lands in Gazipur and Narsingdi by using her husband’s ill-gotten money.

According to her affidavit submitted to the Election Commission, Laila owned immovable wealth worth Tk 3.69 crore, including Tk 3.56 crore cash, and shares and savings certificates worth Tk 82 lakh.

Apart from this, she also owns 1.55 acres of agricultural land and 7.06 acres of non-agricultural land.

Ifat, son of Matiur’s second wife, Shammi Akhtar, caught the social media spotlight when he bought a goat for Tk 12 lakh from Sadeeq Agro as a sacrificial animal.

People on social media questioned the source of income required to buy a goat at such an exorbitant price.

On social media, Ifat introduced himself as the son of Matiur but Matiur publicly claimed that Ifat was not his son and he also denied his second marriage.

Nizam Uddin Hazari, the lawmaker for the Feni-2 constituency, however, confirmed to media that his cousin Shammi Akhtar was the second wife of Matiur and Ifat was his son.

Matiur Rahman and Laila Kaniz could not be reached for their comments over the phone despite repeated attempts. Matiur, however, told a TV channel that he did not earn money through corruption.

If anyone can prove his involvement in any graft, he will accept all the allegations, he added.