Sadeeq Agro scandal: Fraudulent livestock imports and corruption exposed

Corruption, Scandal

The recent scandal involving Mushfiqur Rahman Ifat, who went viral for allegedly buying a goat for an astronomical BDT 1.5 million, has revealed a complex web of corruption and irregularities surrounding Sadeeq Agro, a livestock company. The situation took a dramatic turn when Ifat’s father, a revenue officer named Matiur Rahman, denied the purchase, while Mohammad Imran, the managing director of Sadeeq Agro, claimed Ifat had paid 100,000 Taka in advance but never collected the goat. This contradictory narrative has sparked a broader investigation into the dubious operations of Sadeeq Agro, raising serious questions about the origins of their expensive livestock and the legality of their business practices.

The controversy began when social media erupted with evidence suggesting a prior acquaintance between Ifat and the owner of Sadeeq Agro, Mohammad Imran Hossain. This revelation cast doubt on the legitimacy of the goat purchase and hinted at deeper irregularities within Sadeeq Agro. The company’s exorbitantly priced livestock, including cows and goats worth millions of Taka, has drawn scrutiny, particularly regarding how these prestigious animals arrived at their farm.

In 2021, a significant scandal unfolded when 18 Brahma cows were seized at Dhaka Airport. These cows, imported by Sadeeq Agro, were brought into the country using fraudulent documents. Despite the company’s claims that the cows were for research purposes and were gifts from an American company, the truth was far murkier. Mohammad Imran Hossain, the owner of Sadeeq Agro, provided conflicting statements to the media, admitting to mistakes and claiming ignorance about the submission of fake papers. He stated that the cows were intended for research and potential meat export, contradicting the legal obligations required for importation.

According to the Dhaka Custom House, the cows were seized due to the lack of import permission and the absence of the importer. Sadeeq Agro had failed to submit the necessary bill of entry, a legal requirement for customs clearance. Despite these serious violations, the cows, which were temporarily held by the Livestock Directorate in Savar, eventually found their way back to Sadeeq Agro and were sold as high-value cattle. This blatant disregard for legal protocols and the apparent complicity of various government agencies highlight a profound issue of corruption.

Sadeeq Agro’s operations have been riddled with irregularities. The company, despite not being a licensed importer or having the necessary setup for artificial insemination, managed to import and retain high-value Brahma cows. This raises questions about the sources of their livestock and the integrity of their business practices. The involvement of black money and money laundering is strongly suggested, given the exorbitant prices at which these cows are sold.

The company’s claim that the cows were for research and were gifts does not hold water. The lack of proper documentation, the use of fraudulent papers, and the failure to comply with import regulations point to a deliberate attempt to bypass legal procedures. Furthermore, the cows, initially intended for slaughter and meat sale at low prices, were instead sold at exorbitant rates, revealing a stark contradiction in the company’s stated intentions and actual practices.

The role of government agencies in this scandal cannot be overlooked. The Central Cow Breeding and Dairy Farm director, Md. Monirul Islam, admitted that the cows were handed over to designated places in Dhaka for meat sales at cheap prices, following administrative instructions. However, the lack of monitoring and the subsequent sale of these cows by Sadeeq Agro in the Qorbani market at high prices suggest a failure in oversight and potential collusion with corrupt elements within the government.

The Dhaka Custom House and the Directorate of Livestock must be held accountable for their roles in this scandal. The failure to enforce import regulations, the lack of proper monitoring, and the eventual release of the cows to Sadeeq Agro indicate serious lapses in governance. This case underscores the need for stringent measures to curb corruption and ensure accountability in the handling of livestock imports and sales.

This scandal is a microcosm of the broader issues of corruption, black money, and governance failures in Bangladesh. The ease with which Sadeeq Agro manipulated legal procedures and imported high-value cattle using fraudulent means is a testament to the pervasive corruption in the country. The involvement of high-ranking officials and the apparent complicity of multiple government agencies further highlight the systemic nature of the problem.

There is an urgent need for a thorough investigation into Sadeeq Agro’s operations, the source of their funds, and the role of government officials in facilitating these irregularities. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and other relevant authorities must scrutinize the company’s financial transactions, the legality of their imports, and the actual use of the imported livestock. The investigation should also extend to individuals like Matiur Rahman and other high-profile buyers of Sadeeq Agro’s expensive livestock, probing the sources of their wealth and potential involvement in money laundering.

The Sadeeq Agro scandal is a glaring example of corruption and irregularities in Bangladesh’s agricultural sector. The case of the Brahma cows and the viral goat purchase expose the depths of deceit and the urgent need for reform. It is imperative that the government takes decisive action to address these issues, restore accountability, and ensure that such blatant violations of the law do not go unpunished. The future of the agricultural sector and public trust in governance depend on the transparency and effectiveness of the actions taken in response to these revelations.

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