United States may impose sanctions on Motiur Rahman on allegations of Kleptocracy

Global Magnitsky Act, Kleptocracy, US Department of Treasury, NBR

Following exposure of information detailing rampant corruption and loot of public wealth, which is known as Kleptocracy, the US Department of Treasury is going to impose sanctions on Motiur Rahman, who has been recently withdrawn from the National Board of Revenue (NBR) along with his two wives, two sons and daughter.

Seeking anonymity, a credible source in Capitol Hill told this correspondent, Biden administration has been targeting corrupt individuals throughout the world with sanction or visa restrictions.

On June 11, 2024, the US Department of State imposed sanctions on Nazar Mohamed, his son, Azruddin Mohamed, their company, Mohamed’s Enterprise, and Mae Thomas, the former Permanent Secretary to Guyana’s Minister of Home Affairs and current Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Labour, for their roles in public corruption in Guyana. It also designated two entities, Hadi’s World and Team Mohamed’s Racing Team, for being owned or controlled by Mohamed’s Enterprise and Azruddin, respectively.

According to a press release, the US Department of State said, between 2019 and 2023, Mohamed’s Enterprise omitted more than ten thousand kilograms of gold from import and export declarations and avoided paying more than $50 million in duty taxes to the Government of Guyana.  To perpetuate and conceal this scheme, Mohamed’s Enterprise engaged in extensive bribery of government officials.  This activity served to enrich the corrupt actors involved, undermine Guyanese institutions, and deprive the people of Guyana of important revenues.

The Department of the Treasury took this action pursuant to Executive Order 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption around the world.

In May 2024, Washington imposed sanctions onfive current and former Ugandan officials for their alleged involvement in significant corruption or gross violations of human rights.

Among the officials designated were Speaker of Parliament Anita Among who is accused of “significant corruption tied to her leadership of Uganda’s Parliament”.

Others designated due to “corruption” allegations were former Minister of Karamoja Affairs Mary Goretti Kitutu, former Minister of State for Karamoja Affairs Agnes Nandutu and Minister of State for Finance Amos Lugolobi.

Peter Elwelu, former deputy chief of the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces, was also designated due to his alleged involvement in “gross violations of human rights”, according to a statement by the State Department.

The US agency said it is taking steps to impose visa restrictions for multiple other Ugandan officials for “undermining the democratic process and repressing members of marginalized or vulnerable populations in Uganda”.

“The United States stands with Ugandans advocating for democratic principles, a government that delivers for all its citizens, and accountability for actions committed by those who abuse their position through corruption and gross violations of human rights”, it said.

In March 2024, the United States imposed new sanctions on eight Zimbabwean individuals, including President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his wife, and other officials, following allegations of corruption and human rights abuses. It also placed sanctions on three businesses – also because of alleged corruption, human rights abuses and election rigging.

In December 2023, United States imposed sanctions on two former Afghan officials and 44 related entities for a corruption scheme in which they allegedly siphoned off millions of dollars in US government funds meant for Afghan security forces.

The US Treasury named the two as Mir Rahman Rahmani, who served in parliament before the Afghan government collapsed in 2021 when US forces withdrew and the Taliban took over, and his son Ajmal Rahmani, another legislator nicknamed “Armored Ajmal” for his business selling bulletproof vehicles to the Kabul elite.

The US Department of Treasury has been regularly targeting corrupt individuals throughout the world and imposing sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Act.

It may be mentioned here that, Moriur Rahman, his first wife Laila Kaniz Lucky, second wife Shammi Akther Shibly, sons Taufikur Rahman Arnab and Mushfequr Rahman Ifat, and daughter Farzana Rahman Ipsita have amassed wealth worth hundreds of millions of dollars while the family has smuggled-out massive amount of cash in a number of countries including Dubai, Malaysia, Canada and the United States.

Motiur’s daughter Farzana Rahman Ipsita lives an expensive life in Canada where she has bought a luxurious house and uses multiple vehicles, while she also has invested in a number of business projects Similarly, Motiur’s son Taufikur Rahman Arnab has invested his ill-gotten in properties and businesses in the United States.

It is further learnt, Motiur Rahman and his family members have purchased citizenship by spending over US$1.2 million in a Caribbean island nation, while they also have invested in “Second Home” or “Golden Visa” scheme in Dubai and Malaysia.

The Capitol Hill source further said, US authorities are currently investigating at least three dozen Bangladeshi nationals involved in corruption and money-laundering with the target of imposing sanctions.

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