14 Destiny Group officials involved in scam

Fourteen Destiny Group officials, including its chairman Rafiqul Amin, were involved in a Tk 1,448-crore scam in the multilevel company’s cooperative wing, Destiny Multipurpose Cooperative Society Ltd.

Of the sum, Rafiqul Amin misappropriated nearly Tk 130 crore, a government investigation has found. The group’s former vice-president Gofranul Haque embezzled about Tk 128 crore and ex-treasure Akbar Hossain Sumon Tk 119 crore.

রফিকুল আমীনসহ ১৪ কর্মকর্তা দায়ী

Nine other officials of the controversial cooperative firm, including its former general secretary Zakir Hossain, each pocketed Tk 118.8 crore, according to the inquiry carried out by the Department of Cooperatives (DoC).

Syedur Rahman, a director of Destiny Group, has been blamed in the report over misappropriating Tk 2.15 crore while DMSCL Executive Director MA Muhith has been accused of misappropriating Tk 87 lakh.

The DoC submitted its probe report to the local government and cooperatives ministry on Monday.

“The persons identified in the report have to give the money back to the Destiny Multipurpose Cooperative Society Ltd. Or else, they will face cases leading to their imprisonment for three years each or being fined or both,” said Amiya Kumar Chattapadhay, additional registrar and head of the DoC probe committee.

Twelve of these 14 people were in the DMCSL management committee for 2010-11 and the two others were top officials of the cooperative.

The committee members spent the money in the name of business promotion and giving loans to some two dozen non-profitable entities, the probe report says.

The cooperative firm, which registered with the DoC in 2005, has seen an astronomical rise in its capital, shareholders, profit and investment since 2009.

The firm’s paid-up capital increased to nearly Tk 300 crore in 2009-10 from Tk 5.53 crore a year ago. The figure jumped to nearly Tk 1,200 crore in 2010-11. Its paid-up capital in 2006-07 was Tk 1.62 crore.

Loans and investments grew to Tk 569 crore in 2010-11 from less than Tk 23 crore in 2008-09; they rose by over 213 percent between 2009-10 and 2010-11.

DMCSL came under the spotlight after a central bank investigation in March found that the firm was involved in illegal banking. The Anti-Corruption Commission and the National Board of Revenue are also investigating possible money laundering and tax dodging by the company.

Contacted, group Chairman Rafiqul Amin has rejected the DoC report.

“The cooperatives department has blamed us because we did not pay [bribe] them,” he told The Daily Star yesterday.

The Destiny would take legal action against the DoC after getting a copy of the report, Amin warned.

DESTINY OFFICIAL ARRESTED
In another development, the ACC yesterday arrested Abul Kalam Azad, one of the DMSCL management committee members, in connection with two money laundering cases.

The anti-graft body filed the cases last month against 22 top Destiny Group officials, including Azad, Rafiqul Amin and Destiny Group director Lt Gen (retd) M Harun-Ar-Rashid.

According to the cases, the accused persons laundered Tk 3,285.26 crore.

Police produced Azad in Metropolitan Magistrate Hasibul Haque’s court, which sent him to jail.

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