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Attorney general: Niko graft case investigation report from Canadian, US authorities passed on to court

  • Published at 12:20 am November 23rd, 2018
Mahbubey Alam
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam address a press briefing at his Dhaka residence on Thursday; November 22, 2018 Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

He also said he has filed a written application with the court, asking that the Canadian and US authorities who conducted the investigation are summoned to to Bangladesh to give formal statements to the court

Attorney General Mahbubey Alam has said he has received an investigation report on the Niko graft case sent by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, and has passed it on to Dhaka Special Court 9.

He also said he has filed a written application with the court, asking that the Canadian and US authorities who conducted the investigation are summoned to to Bangladesh to give formal statements to the court.

Mahbubey Alam further said the Canadian and US law enforcement agencies had found proof of bribery during their investigation.

The attorney general made the comments during a press briefing at his Dhaka residence on Thursday night.

Mahbubey Alam further said the court set December 9 as the next date for hearing on his application.

He added that a letter has already been sent to the FBI and Canadian Mounted Police, asking those who prepared the investigation report to come to Bangladesh. 

Asked how many representatives of the foreign law enforcement agencies had been asked to come to Bangladesh, the attorney general said two members of the Canadian Mounted Police and one special officer of the FBI had been asked to appear before the special court.

He further said the investigation report was seven to eight pages long.

Regarding what was written in the report, Mahbubey Alam said the Canadian and US law enforcement agencies had determined how the money arrived in Bangladesh.

The money went to various countries, including the Cayman Islands, Switzerland, and the US, before arriving in Bangladesh and being dispensed as bribes.

He added that in 2002, the Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration & Production Company Limited (Bapex) and other local organizations had believed the Purba Chhatak gas field to be an untapped and plentiful source of the natural resource. However, by using insidious means and dealings with the then BNP administration, Niko subsequently acquired the lease to the gas field at a reduced cost, by showing the field as empty.

He added that the bribery was facilitated by Giasuddin Al Mamoon, who is a close friend of acting BNP chairperson Tarique Rahman.

When asked how much money the bribes amounted to, the attorney general said he could not say at this time, but the investigation report had broken up the total into different sections. 

The Niko graft case accuses BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and 11 others of abuse of power. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) claims the accused awarded a gas exploration and extraction deal to Canadian company Niko during Khaleda’s time in office as prime minister – a move that cost the state nearly Tk13,777 crore.

ACC filed the case with Tejgaon police on December 9, 2007 and submitted the charge sheet on May 5, 2008.

Others accused in the case are: former law minister Moudud Ahmed, former state minister for energy AKM Mosharraf Hossain, former acting energy secretary Khandaker Shahidul Islam, and Kashem Sharif, vice-president (South Asia) of Niko Resources Bangladesh Ltd.