Corruption case filed against former Bangladesh PM’s son

March 18th, 2009 - 11:26 am ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, March 18 (IANS) Bangladesh’s anti-graft body has pressed charges against Arafat Rahman Koko, the younger businessman son of former prime minister Khaleda Zia, for money laundering.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Tuesday said Koko, now convalescing in a Singapore hospital after months of imprisonment, had laundered money he had illegally taken from China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd and German telecom firm Siemens “in exchange for helping them get government contracts”, The Daily Star said.

The Chinese firm had helped set up the New Mooring Container Terminal and Siemens was engaged in supplying and setting up equipments for Teletalk mobile phone company.

Koko had laundered money he received from these firms and it was deposited in two of the five accounts in Singapore banks, four with the United Overseas Bank and one with the CIC Bank.

Koko has been charged with using his influence as the son of then prime minister Zia. He illegally earned the money between 2001 and 2006.

“The allegation that Arafat Rahman…has illegally sent abroad 28,84,603.15 Singaporean dollars and 9,32,672.81 US dollars to hide his illegally earned money and his illegal source of income has been primarily proven. This is a punishable offence under section 4(2) of the Money Laundering Prevention Act 2009,” an ACC official said in the concluding paragraph of the five-page first information report (FIR).

The FIR also states that Koko did not mention the transactions of his accounts with the Singaporean banks in his income tax return and his wealth statement submitted to the commission.

It says Koko did not have any business relationship with the sources of this illegal money.

The ACC presumes that “these sources-business organisations and persons gave or were forced to give Koko financial benefit to secure their legal or illegal business interests because he was the son of the then prime minister,” the ACC said.

Besides Koko, Zia and her elder son Tarique Rahman, a politician, were jailed on graft charges by the military-backed caretaker government that ruled in Bangladesh during 2007-08.

Zia is now the leader of the opposition, while Tarique is convalescing in a London hospital.

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