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Friday, May 18, 2007

ACC reacts as Crowley pulls for Sobhan of Bashundhara

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has strongly reacted to a letter by US Congressman Joseph Crowley, also founder co-chairman of Congressional Bangladeshi Caucus, who advocated for special treatment of a controversial businessman Ahmed Akhtar Sobhan of Bashundhara Group. Crowley in a surprising letter to ACC Chief Lt Gen (retd) Hasan Mashhud Chowdhury in March said he has been informed by 'concerned stakeholders' that harassment and intimidation of Sobhan has taken place during search of his home.

Crowley is known to be a lobbyist in the US for important individuals and business groups. Sobhan, an alleged close associate of the Hawa Bhaban and Tarique Rahman, is a controversial figure for his group's land development deals. The anti-graft body is now scrutinising his sources of money.The congressman said he is concerned that 'any disruption of this large employer has the potential to create economic instability within a nation' and added that he 'plans on closely following the developments of this case as it progresses."He also sought flexible dealing with Sobhan who is recovering from a recent heart surgery in London.

In his reply, the ACC chief said Crowley's contention of people being harassed or intimidated is absolutely unfounded and misleading."Your protégé, Mr Ahmed Akbar Sobhan, was required to submit a statement of his assets and satisfy the authorities as regards the means through which he has accumulated wealth worth millions of dollars," Hasan Mashhud wrote to the congressman. "Till now he has failed to do so which reinforces the allegation against him. As such further legal actions are being contemplated to proceed with the case." He disagreed that 'concern for potential disruption in business should override the moral obligation of the government to deal ruthlessly with any corrupt practices indulged in by the nouveau riche in a country like Bangladesh'.

As Crowley insisted that 'intimidation of anyone whether they are head of a company or a rickshaw driver does not benefit anyone during this time of difficulty for Bangladesh', Mashhud said Sobhan or his associates will be provided with the opportunity to clear themselves of any wrongdoing and the 'due process' will be adhered to at all times. "I would expect you to measure things up in their correct perspective and base your judgment on facts. I can assure you there will be no farce, no charade and no kangaroo courts," the ACC boss asserted.

So Bashundhara group has 'mama chachas' in America, they are pulling strings for them. No wonder without 'American Blessings', it would have been impossible to grab land and make a tiny city named 'Bashundhara Residential Area' in Dhaka. It would have been impossible to build sub-continent's largest shopping mall called 'Bashundhara City', it would have really been impossible to do business in Bangladesh actually. So Bashundhara should say, 'Thank you Markin Mama".

1 comment:

Shiblee Ahmed said...

I believe, The Bashundhara Grp. is trying to bring in more "foreign friends" in an attempt to show that their hands are clean. For example, there is a recent news of Defense Solutions LLC, based in USA coming to Dhaka to conduct "internal audits" to show that nary an iota of corruption exists within the annals of Bashundhara.

To begin with Defense Solutions LLC is not an accounting and auditing firm. How can a defense contractor mostly managed by former military officers conduct accounting and auditing? How can a defense firm based in the USA conduct an audit of a BD firm giving them a clean bill of health?

Does any one know where Mr. Ahmed Akbar Sobhan is based right now? Obviously, he's not in BD right now. Perhaps he's in the UK, USA or elsewhere. If Mr. Sobhan has nothing to hide then why is he absconding?

Many questions remain unanswered.