Benazir, Matiur sneak out of country amid allegations of graft

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Staff Reporter :
The ways former Inspector General of Police (IGP) Benazir Ahmed and Commissioner of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) Matiur Rahman, along with their family members, managed to sneak out of the country have become a hot topic of discussion.

This comes despite the strong vigilance on them by law enforcers, including the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

Both Benazir Ahmed and Matiur Rahman are alleged to have amassed significant illegal wealth through corrupt practices. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, without naming anyone, remarked on Tuesday saying “Some people’s money increases so much that they cannot keep it in the country. Rather, they have to leave the country to keep the money abroad, which becomes like an addiction,” during her press briefing at Gono Bhaban.

Meanwhile, the ACC has uncovered a new instance of fraud by former IGP Benazir Ahmed. He has been accused of acquiring substantial wealth illegally. One specific allegation against him is that he concealed his police identity in his passport. Despite being a high-ranking government employee, he neither possessed a blue-colored official passport nor opted for the diplomatic red passport, which was within his entitlement.

The ACC has uncovered unprecedented fraudulence by Benazir Ahmed, including his use of an ordinary passport under the identity of a private employee.

This deception was discovered during the renewal process when the Department of Passport halted the renewal. Despite being eligible for a blue official passport or a red diplomatic passport, Benazir opted for an ordinary passport.

When this issue surfaced, a letter was sent to the RAB headquarters, and Benazir, who was the Director General of RAB at the time, managed to influence the situation illegally to obtain the passport without visiting the passport office.

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The ACC has since interrogated 15 officials, including two additional director generals and two directors of the Passport Directorate, regarding Benazir’s passport. An ACC team led by Deputy Director Hafizul Islam questioned them from 11:30 am to 3:00 pm at the ACC headquarters on Tuesday.

ACC Secretary Khorsheda Yasmin stated that Benazir Ahmed and his family provided a written statement to the ACC Chairman through their lawyer, but did not request a new time for a hearing. Benazir attempted to address the allegations in his written statement. On June 23 and 24, Benazir and his family submitted their complaints through a lawyer without appearing before the ACC.

Multiple sources indicate that Benazir Ahmed is currently abroad with his family members. As part of the investigation, Benazir was summoned on June 6 and his wife Zeeshan Mirza and two daughters on June 9 for the first round of questioning. However, it is believed that they are no longer in the country.

The ACC has not imposed a travel ban on Benazir and his family members. However, a Dhaka court issued a travel ban on Matiur Rahman, the former member of the National Board of Revenue, and two of his family members in connection with corruption allegations against them.

On May 23, the court ordered the seizure of 83 properties and 33 bank accounts of former IGP Benazir Ahmed. On the other hand, on May 26, the court ordered the seizure of 119 land deeds, 23 company shares and four flats in Gulshan in the name of Benazir and his family members. On May 23, their nominal 345 bigha (114 acres) of land, 33 accounts of various banks were ordered to be seized and blocked. A total of 627 bighas of land has been encroached.
In this context, the order to seize the immovable assets and bank accounts of the former IGP Benazir Ahmed and his wife and children is in effect. A receiver has already been appointed.

Earlier, reports were published in a daily newspaper titled ‘Aladdin’s lamp in Benazir’s house’ on March 31 and ‘Benazir’s resort in forest land’ on April 3. Allegations of acquiring illegal wealth against former IGP Benazir Ahmed and his family members have surfaced across the country. After examining the complaint, the ACC decided to investigate it.

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