Vol. 5 Num 989 Mon. March 12, 2007  
Front Page

Tarique says he has bank accounts in five countries

Tarique Rahman has admitted to having bank accounts in five countries--Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, South Africa and Switzerland.

Senior Joint Secretary General of BNP and the eldest son of Khaleda Zia, he gave away the information in the face of extensive questioning at the joint interrogation cell (JIC), sources said yesterday.

The investigators will soon seek assistance from the Bangladesh Bank (BB) and the foreign ministry to know how much money he has in those accounts and how he sent the sums abroad, according to the sources.

If the information is found authentic, the sleuths will start investigating how he had earned the money.

Besides, the authorities concerned will initiate measures to retrieve the money, added the sources.

The interrogators also quizzed Tarique about his reported huge investment in South Africa under a scheme styled '15-million project'. The sources, however, declined to elaborate on the matter.

Apart from this, reports have it that the Malaysian government has frozen his $230 million, as he could not explain the source of the money. He had allegedly siphoned off the massive amount to invest in the Southeast Asian country. The matter was even debated in the last parliament.

Tarique denied extorting Tk 1 crore from Amin Ahmed, owner of Al Amin Constructions, who filed the case against him.

The immediate past premier's son, who used to pull rank on the administration and always seemed beyond the reach of law enforcers during the BNP-Jamaat rule, said he only had some kind of business relations with the complainant and that Giasuddin Al Mamun had introduced him to Amin.

Sources close to the interrogation cell said the man who would lead an alternative powerhouse in Hawa Bhaban, the BNP chairperson's Banani office, looks glum during questioning at the JIC. He also grudges having meals.

Meanwhile, Gulshan police are examining documents of the bank from where the complainant withdrew Tk 1 crore, police sources said.

Tarique will be produced before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court, Dhaka tomorrow as his four-day remand expires today.

The sources also said the trial would be completed within a month.

As per section 10(2) of the Speedy Trial (Law and Order Disruption) Act, a charge sheet or final report against him should be submitted within seven days.

Tarique would be ineligible to compete in elections for the next five years if he is found guilty.

Even if his party returns to power, he would not be able to hold any portfolio or any post equivalent to a minister's.

If the charge against him is proven true, he might be sentenced to a maximum of five years or a minimum of two years in prison and might be fined as well.