Owners face off over control of MetroNet, ‘putting its operations at risk’

Mustafa Shafiqul Islam claims himself to be the managing director as Syed Almas Kabir alleges attempt of forceful takeover

Senior Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 5 March 2023, 08:40 PM
Updated : 5 March 2023, 08:40 PM

MetroNet, one of the largest internet and telecom service providers in Bangladesh, is facing complications over an ownership dispute, with one side claiming the tension may lead to the closure of the company.

Mustafa Rafiqul Islam, who claimed himself to be the managing director at a press conference in Dhaka on Sunday, said their services for important government agencies, banks, financial institutions and internet-based services of the stock market may be hampered due to the crisis.

Syed Almas Kabir, who “was managing director before Rafiqul”, alleged an attempt of forceful takeover with an attack on the firm’s data centre.

Rafiqul denied the allegation, saying it was a misunderstanding.

Both sides accused each other of illegally taking money from their clients.

Conglomerate Rahimafrooz has 51 percent shares of MetroNet but does not have its name on the board of directors because of an “error”, said Almas Kabir. The process to put Rahimafrooz’s name on the board of directors was ongoing, he said.

Almas has 2 percent share in the company, but claimed he had been running it with Rahimafrooz’s support.

Flora Telecoms, of which Rafiqul is the managing director, owns the rest of the shares.

“They [Rafiqul and his associates] are trying to take control illegally since December. They are holding meetings to declare their positions,” he said, speaking to http://bdnews24.com over the phone from abroad.

He claimed a court ordered Flora not to hamper MetroNet’s operations.

Rafiqul said Almas, a former president of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services, was removed from the board of MetroNet for his activities against the company.

He said Almas illegally asked banks to stop transactions from the accounts of the company last December.

Almas also changed passwords for access to email, server and other services, and collected bills from the clients illegally, Rafiqul said, adding they filed several general diaries with the police over the incidents.