Leaked audio unveils further corruption scandal of Matiur Rahman

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National Board of Revenue, Bangladesh, Matiur Rahman

Special Note: Corrupt official of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) in Bangladesh has smuggled-out millions of dollars to the United States, Canada, Dubai, Malaysia and few more countries in the world. Such actions fall under Kleptocracy, while the US Department of Justice can impose sanctions on Matiur Rahman, his two wives, two sons and daughter and confiscate their properties. For the sake of punishing such culprits, Washington must take stern measure immediately. Matiur Rahman and members of his family must come under sanctions.

In a shocking turn of events, leaked audio recordings of a mobile phone conversation between Matiur Rahman, a recently ex-member of the National Board of Revenue (NBR), and his subordinate officer Arjina Khatun have stirred significant uproar. The conversation, reportedly filled with inappropriate and obscene remarks, has drawn attention not only for its content but also for the underlying corruption and accumulation of illicit wealth by both parties.

Arjina Khatun, the Second Secretary for Monitoring, Statistics, and Coordination of the Board of Revenue, has come under intense scrutiny for her sudden and massive accumulation of wealth. Allegations suggest that she exploited her close relationship with Matiur Rahman to gain numerous immoral benefits, amassing a vast fortune through illegal means. This includes elite apartments in Dhaka, luxury houses in her village, and an astonishing collection of 500 bhori of gold jewelry (each bhori equivalent to 11.664 grams).

The Ministry of Finance has yet to take any action against Matiur Rahman, who has gone into hiding without joining his new workplace. However, following an application from the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), the court has ordered the seizure of substantial assets belonging to Matiur Rahman and his family. Dhaka Metropolitan Senior Special Judge Mohammad Assamach Jaglul Hossain issued the order, freezing 10.19 acres of land and four flats owned by the Matiur family.

Arjina Khatun’s wealth, allegedly accumulated through corrupt practices, has been a subject of significant concern. She reportedly owns luxurious flats with opulent interiors in the capital, upscale houses in the villages, and lands registered under her family members’ names. Her acquisition of 500 pieces of gold jewelry, of which 200 were reportedly smuggled from abroad, highlights the extent of her illegal activities.

The ACC received a complaint on June 10, detailing the corruption and illegal assets of Arjina Khatun. The complaint revealed that Arjina had acquired substantial wealth through fraudulent importation, money laundering, and her involvement with a gold smuggling ring. Her close relationship with Matiur Rahman further facilitated her corrupt activities.

According to the complaint, Arjina owns a luxury flat in Mirpur, Dhaka, spanning approximately 2,000 square feet. She lives there with her family, with the flat valued at BDT 13.00 million, though the registration document shows a significantly lower price of BDT 6.80 million. An investigation revealed that Arjina bought the flat a year before taking a loan in 2020, completing the registration at double the loan amount. She also spent around BDT 5.00 million on luxurious furniture and modern interiors for the flat.

In her village home in Talutpara, Naroa Union, Rajbari, Arjina transformed a modest tin house into an elegant building within three years of working in customs. The complaint also disclosed that after her transfer to Chittagong in 2022, she bought five lands in her family members’ names, with a market value of BDT 500,000. She also took another land mortgage worth about BDT 10 million in the village. Additionally, she possesses diamond jewelry worth at least BDT 100,000 and bought 500 bhori of gold and diamond jewelry between 2018 and 2023.

When questioned about these allegations, Arjina Khatun claimed to be a victim of a vendetta by her ex-husband, who filed a case against her out of anger. She insisted that a group was plotting against her due to a family dispute.

Meanwhile, ACC lawyer Mahmud Hossain Jahangir confirmed that the court had ordered the confiscation of Matiur Rahman’s extensive assets. These assets include 114 percent land in Muladi Upazila, Barisal, 5.02 acres land in Marjal Union, Raipura Upazila, Narsingdi, and a 2,445 square feet flat in Bashundhara, Dhaka. Other assets include 2.75 acres land in 19 documents under Ahmed Taufiqur Rahman Arnab, Matiur’s son, 1.06 acres land in five deeds under Farzana Rahman Ipsita, Matiur’s daughter, and a multi-storied building on five kata land in D Block, Bashundhara.

On June 24, Dhaka’s senior special judge Mohammad Assamach Jaglul Hossain issued a travel ban on Matiur Rahman, his wife Laila Kaniz, and their son Ahmed Taufiqur Rahman Arnab following an application from the ACC. However, on June 30, Laila Kaniz requested the court to lift the travel ban, with the hearing scheduled for July 28. It is reported that Matiur’s second wife, Shammi Akhtar Shibly, and Mushfiqur Rahman Ifat fled the country long ago.

The scandal involving Matiur Rahman brought to light various scandals and the extensive illegal wealth amassed by his family. Following this, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina declared a “war against corruption” in her National Assembly speech on June 29. This announcement triggered an anti-corruption campaign, with relevant departments and the media actively exposing the illegally acquired wealth of government officials and employees.

The unfolding scandal involving Arjina Khatun and Matiur Rahman highlights the deep-rooted corruption in Bangladesh’s revenue board. The ACC’s ongoing investigations and legal actions against illicit wealth accumulation demonstrate a crucial step towards combating corruption. However, the extent of wealth amassed through illegal means underscores the need for stringent measures and vigilant oversight to prevent such malpractices in the future. The government’s commitment to fighting corruption and the media’s role in exposing these wrongdoings will be instrumental in restoring public trust and ensuring a more transparent and accountable system.

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