Vol. 5 Num 957 Fri. February 09, 2007  
Front Page

Ex-state minister Mosharraf held

The army-led joint forces last night arrested former state minister for energy AKM Mosharraf Hossain at his home in Mymensingh as part of its ongoing crackdown on 'corrupt' politicians.

With Mosharraf's arrest, 20 high-profile political leaders including former ministers, state ministers and lawmakers have been arrested so far.

Mosharraf was compelled to resign from his post in June 2005 following a scandal that he allegedly received an expensive Toyota Land Cruiser Cygnus, a four-wheel-drive vehicle, from Canadian company Niko Resources.

The former state minister's nephew Shahidul Islam Sohagh said a group of at least 50 security personnel raided Mosharraf's home on Gangadas Guha Road around 9:40pm and asked him to go with them. The security personnel also picked up Mosharraf's personal assistant Yusuf Ali from there as well.

The joint forces, however, did not search his house. He had been staying at his Mymensingh home for the last three days.

Police sources said he was taken to Kotwali Police Station around 10:30pm.

During Ershad regime Mosharraf was the chairman of Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation and was later promoted to the post of industries secretary.

With the fall of Ershad's regime, several corruption cases were filed against Mosharraf and he was convicted in two of those. He was also confined to jail for some time following the filing of those cases.

Despite his graft-infested records, BNP picked Mosharraf and he was elected MP from Muktagachha in Mymensingh in 2001. Later the immediate past prime minister appointed him as state minister for energy.

Sources said a number of foreign oil companies had allegedly patronised him before he became a state minister. He spearheaded the Kafco deal that many say went against the interest of Bangladesh, they added.

He was ousted from the post as some of his actions had supposedly harmed financial interests of a few powerful lobbies close to the immediate past government, sources said.

Mosharraf was also criticised widely for his role in dealing with foreign companies on the issues of Magurchhara gas blow-out compensation claims, financial disputes and the deal with Niko Resources, they added.

When he was at the helm of the energy ministry, Mosharraf supposedly appointed many officials in the nine affiliates of Petrobangla which went against government policy and obstructed restoring order in those companies leading to huge losses.

In June 2005, Mosharraf went to Canada and the US on a trip along with some Petrobangla officials allegedly at the expense of Niko. The cost was, however, recoverable from gas sales from Niko's concern in Bangladesh and that meant the trip was unwittingly paid for by Bangladesh, an earlier report said quoting Petrobangla sources.