ACC presses charges against Destiny chief, MD

The Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) has pressed charges in court against Destiny Group chairman, general manager (GM) and 49 others over misappropriation of Tk 41.18 billion and siphoning off Tk 960 million.

Staff Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 4 May 2014, 10:18 AM
Updated : 4 May 2014, 03:36 PM

Charge sheets in two cases were filed at the court of Dhaka’s Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) on Sunday, ACC Deputy Director Mozahar Ali Sardar told bdnews24.com.

Ali is also the investigation officer in the cases.

Both charge sheets together named 104 witnesses, ACC’s prosecuting official at the CMM Court Abdur Rashid told bdnews24.com confirming the submission.

Nineteen people have been accused in the cases against Destiny Multipurpose Cooperative Society, while the one against Destiny Tree Plantation Ltd accuses 46.

Destiny Chairman Harunur Rashid and GM Rafiqul Amin are the prime suspects in the cases.

The ACC filed the cases on July 31, 2012 with Kalabagan police in Dhaka. It approved the charge sheets in January this year.

ACC Commissioner Shahabuddin Chuppu at the time had said Harunur Rashid, a retired Lieutenant General and former army chief, was involved in money laundering.

“He was fully aware of the money laundering incident.”

In early February last year, the then Commerce Minister, GM Quader, told Parliament that a government investigation had found evidence of illegal and suspicious transactions by Destiny 2000 Ltd, a multilevel marketing company.

An inter-ministerial committee found initial proofs of nine irregularities committed by the company, he said.

In August last year, the cabinet cleared the draft of Multilevel Marketing Control Act-2013 providing for imprisonment for up to 10 years for running an unlicensed business.

After submitting the charge sheets, Mozahar Ali Sardar told bdnews24.com Destiny had collected Tk 24.45 billion from the investors through the Tree Plantation Project since 2008.

“Over Tk 22.57 billion was misappropriated from this sum, which led more than 1.7 million investors to suffer loss.”

The ACC also found out that Destiny collected Tk 19.01 billion for the Multipurpose Cooperative Project and embezzled Tk 18.61 billion from there.

At least 850,000 investors counted financial losses from that, Sardar said.

“Destiny Group has 28 organisations under its name. They embezzled the money through some of those that exist only in name. The accused deposited the money collected in the bank accounts of those organisations and later transferred the money to accounts in other banks.”

The ACC official said their investigation found 722 such accounts in 34 banks. All of them, however, have been frozen.

Asked about the process of money laundering, Mozahar Ali said, “The money was first sent to Dubai through unofficial channels. Then this money was transferred to different banks in the US, France, Hong Kong and Singapore.”

The antigraft watchdog has already impounded Destiny’s all assets worth Tk 6.31 billion.

Commissioner Shahabuddin Chuppu on Sunday said their enquiry took a long time as they had to thoroughly investigate the biggest fraud in multilevel marketing business in Bangladesh’s history.

He said the highest punishment for embezzling and money laundering was 12 years in jail.

The accused in the Destiny Multipurpose case are - Destiny 2000 Ltd Chairman Mohammad Hossain, Deputy Managing Director Gofranul Haque, Director Mejbah Uddin, Farah Diba, Sayeed-ur Rahman, Syed Sazzad Hossain, Zamshed Ara Chowdhury, Irfan Ahmed, Sheikh Taiyebur Rahman, Nepal Chandra Biswas, Jakir Hossain, Jasimuddin Bhuiyan, SM Ahsanul Kabir, Jubayer Hossain, Mosaddek Ali Khan, Abdul Mannan and Abul Kalam Azad.

The accused in the Tree Plantation case are - Azad Rahman, Akbar Hossain Sumon, Saidul Islam Khan Rubel, Sumon Ali Khan, Shirin Akhtar, Rafiqul Islam Sarker, Mojibur Rahman, Lt Col (retd) Didarul Alam, M Haideruzzaman, Md Joynal Abedin, Qazi Fazlul Karim, Molla Al Amin, Shafiul Islam, Ziaul Haque Molla, Shikdar Kabirul Islam, Firoz Alam, Omar Faruq, Sunil Baran Karmakar, Farid Akhtar, S Shahiduzzaman Chayan, Abdur Rahman Tapan, Maj (retd) Sakibuzzaman Khan, SM Ahsanul Kabir Biplab, AHM Ataur Rahman Reza, Golam Kibria Milton, Atiqur Rahman, Khandker Benzir Ahmed, AKM Shafiullah, Shah Alam, Delwar Hossain, Jesmin Akhtar and Shafiqul Haque.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher