Beximco protests TIB’s ‘slanderous’ remarks on Salman F Rahman

Beximco Group has vigorously protested “slanderous remarks” by the Transparency International Bangladesh about the top industrial conglomerate’s Vice-Chairman Salman F Rahman who also represents Dhaka-1 constituency in parliament.

Published : 15 Sept 2019, 08:19 AM
Updated : 15 Sept 2019, 09:07 AM

Beximco Chairman Sohail F Rahman wrote to the civil society corruption watchdog’s Chairperson Sultana Kamal on Sunday to register their protest.

The letter referred to TIB Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman’s comment in response to a report published by The Daily Star on Sept 13. The newspaper reported that the conglomerate has been afforded another opportunity to reschedule loans.

Iftekharuzzaman was quoted as saying that “taking unfair advantage of the loan rescheduling facility, a group of plunderers are becoming lawmakers”.

There was “sufficient reason to believe” that the TIB’s statement was pointed at Beximco Vice-Chairman Salman F Rahman, who was elected MP in the last general election, the company said. He is also the adviser to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on private industry and investment.

“BEXIMCO Group has enjoyed a long working relationship with the board members of TIB. Such an offensive insinuation was beneath the TIB and its stated values,” the letter said.

Iftekharuzzaman’s remark is ‘disrespectful’ to the TIB itself and has “also belittled the MPs who have their loans rescheduled and the 60,000 hardworking employees by calling us looters”, Bangladesh’s largest and most diversified industrial conglomerate said in the letter.

Chairman Sohail Rahman said businesses “were forced to pay a huge amount of extortion to save lives and their entities” during the 2007-08 caretaker government when Salman was arrested on charges of corruption.

“Has the TIB ever been critical of such illegal extortion by some of the people governing the country during the caretaker government?” Sohail asked, noting that Salman was cleared by the court of law of the charges later.

Beximco said the group had faced “immense hostility” during the BNP and the caretaker governments which led to the firm’s failure to repay loans in time and plunged it to a financial disaster and an image crisis.  

It engaged an auditor to check its future fund flow and the audit firm said it would take 12 years for the group to repay the loans, Beximco said.

The Bangladesh Bank then gave it six years to repay its working capital loan but the company said it may not be in a position to do so due to a liquidity crisis, according to the Beximco letter.

Recently, Beximco moved to get its loan rescheduled again, informing the central bank that its repayment may be hampered considering the current flow of funds, the letter explained.

The Bangladesh Bank board then took the same decision on the Beximco request and those from the other borrowers with regular accounts, according to the letter. 

The letter rattled off a list of Beximco activities and said it is “within our rights as a company to present our case to the central bank if we face any problem”.

“TIB claims to promote transparency and rule of law in the country. However, its statement based on opinionated newspaper reports, and its executive director’s slanderous remarks against members of parliaments including our Vice Chairman Salman Fazlur Rahman MP, are not only disappointing but also unbecoming of the institution.”

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