Barapukuria Coal Mine: Khaleda, 10 of her ministers sued for corruption

by Priyo Australia | February 27, 2008 2:35 am

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday filed a case against detained BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and 15 others including 10 former ministers from BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami for graft in awarding Barapukuria coal mine operation contract to a Chinese company.

In the case filed with Shahbagh Police Station, the 16 have been accused of causing a loss of over Tk 158.71 crore to the public exchequer by awarding the production, management and maintenance contract through abuse of power.

The accused former ministers from BNP are M Saifur Rahman, Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, M Shamsul Islam, MK Anwar, barrister Aminul Haque, Altaf Hossain Choudhury, and AKM Mosharraf Hossain.

Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojahid and Motiur Rahman Nizami are the accused ex-ministers from Jamaat.

The others charged with the offence are former acting secretary to energy and mineral resources Nazrul Islam, former Petrobangla chairman SR Osmani, former Petrobangla director Mainul Ahsan, former managing director of Barapukuria Coal Mining Company Ltd (BCMCL) Sirajul Islam and Hosaf Group Chairman Moazzem Hossain.

Of the former ministers, nine were members of the cabinet purchase committee.

Since the military-backed caretaker government assumed power, this is the third case against Khaleda, also former prime minister. It is however the first case filed against Nizami and Mojahid by the anti-graft body.

The charges were brought under sections 409/406/109/419/420 of the penal code and 5 (2) of corruption prevention act of 1947.

ACC Assistant Director Shamsul Alam, the complainant, said the offence took place between June 2, 2003 and June 4, 2005 at the energy and mineral resources department.

In the first information report (FIR), he also brought allegations of misappropriation of government money, cheating for concealing identity by Moazzem Hossain and abusing power for personal gains.

Of the other two cases against the BNP chief detained since September 3, one was filed for graft regarding gas exploration job by Niko and the other for violating tender conditions in appointing Gatco, an indenting house, for container handling in Dhaka inland container depot and Chittagong port yard.


Shandong Ludi Consortium was adjudged the lowest bidder in the international tender floated to employ a contractor for production, management and maintenance of Barapukuria coal mine in Dinajpur.

A seven-member committee headed by Prof Anwarul Azim, a teacher of Buet and president of Institute of Engineers, Bangladesh, was the evaluation authority.

Of the three bidders, Suju Coal Mining Group Consortium was the second lowest bidder while China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CMC) consortium the highest.

Following recommendation of the government committee on purchase and approval of the prime minister, a deed for the work worth Tk 335.08 crore was signed between the Barapukuria Coal Mining Company Ltd and Shandong Ludi Consortium on April 24, 2004.

Instead of submitting bank guarantee and performance guarantee as per the rules, Shandong came up with conditions irrelevant to the deed. Among others, they proposed raising the contract value.

Though legally there was no room for allowing anything beyond the deed, the energy and mineral resources ministry suggested that Petrobangla examine the proposals from Shandong, leading to delay.

The government did not go for a retender on grounds that there was not enough time for that.

Following manoeuvrings in favour of CMC, it cut a deal with the Chinese company on June 4, 2005, 14 months into the deal with Shandong.

According to tender rules and Public Procurement Regulations 2003, the second lowest bidder, in that case Suju, was supposed to be given the job. But the deal went to CMC whose offer was over Tk 158 crore higher than Shandong’s.

Though Suju’s bid was cancelled for not renewing its bid bond, the company was later shown as an associate of CMC in the contract.

Khaleda Zia has been included as the accused as she was responsible for the ministry in question and any decision was supposed to be taken with her full knowledge.

Besides, the FIR says, she approved the cabinet purchase committee’s proposal without considering the difference of over Tk 158 crore between the highest and lowest bidders and ignoring prospect of retender.

Hosaf Group did not participate in the bidding directly, they were the local agents of both the lowest and highest bidding companies. In fact, the Chinese companies worked in collaboration with each other throughout the tender and Hosaf group Chairman Moazzem Hossain who was their common chairman used his connections to pull off the deal, the FIR read.


Terming the case false and motivated, Pro-Khaleda BNP faction yesterday demanded immediate release of the former premier and withdrawal of all cases against her.

Talking to The Daily Star, party’s acting office secretary Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said, “The case has been filed only to lengthen our chairperson’s stay in jail.”

Contacted, MK Anwar and Shamsul Islam, who are among the accused, declined to make any comment.

“I don’t know anything about it,” Shamsul Islam said.

Maj (retd) Hafiz Uddin Ahmed, acting secretary general of pro-Saifur faction, described the latest graft case against Khaleda and the former ministers as ‘regrettable’. He said he hopes they will get justice.

Meanwhile, Jamaat-e-Islami said the case against its Amir Motiur Rahman Nizami and Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mojahid is motivated.

A party press release signed by Tasnee Alam said the case against the 11 top political leaders would disrupt the electoral process and get in the way of restoration of democracy.

The press release was issued after a central working committee meeting with Nizami in the chair.

Original Source Daily Star[1]

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