ACC and CIC probe exposes Matiur Rahman’s unprotected wealth

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ACC, Matiur Rahman, National Board of Revenue, NBR

Matiur Rahman, a former member of the National Board of Revenue (NBR), gained attention following the infamous “goat incident.” His first wife, Laila Kaniz Lucky, formerly a college teacher, now serves as the Raipura Upazila Parishad Chairman in Narsingdi. His second wife, Shammi Akhtar Shibly, manages household affairs. Their children include Farzana Rahman Ipsita, currently residing in Canada after graduating from a private university in Dhaka, and Ahmed Taufiqur Rahman Arnab, who returned from studying in the UK and recently married into a family in Chittagong’s industrial sector. Additionally, Madhavi, Shammi Akhtar’s daughter, studies at Bardem Medical College, while Mushfequr Rahman Ifat, famously linked to the goat incident, is a student at Notre Dame College. Matiur’s family includes younger son Irfan, aged seven. His brothers, Abdul Hakim and Qayyum Hawladar, had nominal incomes, with most family expenditures sourced from Matiur’s earnings, while another brother, Nurul Huda, faced unemployment.

Matiur Rahman’s seemingly ordinary family has emerged as owners of immense wealth, including luxury properties, cars, flats, parks, resorts, and industrial investments. Allegations suggest Matiur orchestrated a scheme to enrich his family members on paper, ostensibly to obscure his illicit income, while keeping a fraction under his own name to evade legal scrutiny.

Despite declaring assets worth BDT 200 million in his income tax filings, primarily BDT 130 million in cash, discrepancies abound between these figures and actual holdings. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) previously attempted, unsuccessfully on four occasions, to uncover Matiur’s alleged illegal assets, citing unexplained closures of investigations. Presently, the ACC, in collaboration with the Central Intelligence Cell (CIC) of the NBR, is intensifying efforts to probe into Matiur’s family assets, as reported across multiple sources.

During the initial stages of the goat incident, Matiur Rahman gave an interview on private television, denying paternity of Ifat to alter public perception. He claimed substantial wealth accumulation through stock market gains. However, his latest income tax filing only reports BDT 8.20 million in capital market investments and BDT 120.97 million in cash. Additional assets include a BDT 5.00 million loan to FDR, BDT 30 million in non-agricultural property, and ownership of a fish farm. Despite these holdings, income tax records reportedly disclose no further assets, contrasting sharply with the perceived wealth of his family members.

A preliminary investigation into Matiur Rahman’s wealth has uncovered discrepancies regarding ownership of luxury vehicles. Family sources confirm that Matiur, along with his two wives and children from both marriages, possesses at least a dozen luxury cars, some valued between BDT 30 to 40 million. Surprisingly, Matiur, his wives, and children have not declared any vehicle ownership in their income tax filings. These cars are registered under companies owned by Matiur’s wife, brother, and daughter, rather than in their individual names. Notably, popular models like the Prado and Premio used by Rifat, which gained attention on social media, are registered under entities such as SK Trim Industries Limited and a bank, as per Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) records. Despite holding BDT 130 million in cash, Matiur reportedly financed cars for his wife and son using bank loans, with another vehicle registered under a Mohakhali car showroom’s name.

It is confirmed that Matiur Rahman has constructed a modern residence on 5 khata of land in D block, Road No. 8, Bashundhara Residential Area, where he resides with his first wife. The other units within the property are rented out, all financed with Matiur’s funds, yet registered under his daughter Farzana Rahman Ipsita’s name. Additionally, he has invested in businesses in the Farmgate area under the name “Bekar Bakhat Bhai,” acquired several flats across Dhanmondi, Lalmatia, and Kakrail in his younger wife’s name, and engaged in significant capital market placements. Notably, his wife Shammi Akhtar has no reported income.

Matiur has established SK Thread, a yarn manufacturing facility in Kamrangirchar, Old Dhaka, and SK Trim Industry Limited, a garment equipment manufacturing factory in Tongi, managed by his brother Qayyum Howlader. Close associates suggest Matiur’s own income alone couldn’t have funded these ventures, pointing to substantial financial support from his elder brother Qayyum. Allegedly, investments in ventures like Wonder Park, public shooting spots, resorts, and farms have been made in the names of his wife and children, who reportedly lack independent income sources, allegedly using funds acquired through illicit means by Matiur.

Concerns have been raised that Matiur Rahman, familiar with legal loopholes as a former senior NBR officer, has avoided accumulating wealth in his own name to evade legal scrutiny. However, the ACC Act provides avenues to address this. Extracting Matiur’s known non-monetary assets requires organizational integrity, transcending lobbying and external pressures.

An ACC official affirmed their intention to issue asset declaration notices to Matiur, his wives, children, and siblings, promising transparency in clarifying their financial accounts. They emphasized the crucial need to match declared assets with legitimate sources of income to uncover potential money laundering schemes linked to Matiur’s family-operated organizations. Given the absence of other income sources within the family, there is an opportunity to demonstrate that these business investments are derived from questionable origins.

Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD) senior researcher Taufiqul Islam Khan highlighted the significance of this case, noting its potential to set a precedent for transparency and accountability. He stressed the importance of a swift and thorough investigation to uphold public trust and address the complexities surrounding Matiur’s alleged financial misconduct.

Following widespread public criticism triggered by the “goat incident” exposing Matiur Rahman’s substantial wealth, the ACC initiated asset searches. Letters requesting information were dispatched to governmental bodies like BFIU and NBR. Despite previous failed attempts by ACC teams to find evidence against him, a joint effort with NBR’s Central Intelligence Cell (CIC) is now underway to verify Matiur’s family assets. On June 23, in response to the controversy, Matiur was removed from his NBR membership and reassigned to the Internal Resources Department of the Ministry of Finance. He was also ousted from his directorial position at Sonali Bank. Currently in hiding, Matiur has yet to return to work post-Eid, with talks of initiating dismissal proceedings if he fails to resume within 60 days.

Coincidentally, ahead of Eid-ul-Azha, a young resident of Dhanmondi purchased a goat from Sadiq Agro in Mohammadpur for BDT 1.5 million. When images and videos of the transaction went viral on Facebook, questions arose about the source of the young man’s funds. It later emerged that NBR member Matiur Rahman was the young man’s father. Initially denying paternity, the son’s claim was refuted with evidence, sparking widespread criticism. This incident brought attention to the significant wealth of Matiur’s family, prompting them to retreat from public view. After 14 days, Matiur’s first wife, Laila Kaniz Lucky, made her first public appearance, confidently asserting at an Upazila Parishad meeting that they would face no consequences.

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