Internal strife and conflict is at its absolute peak in Banglalink, the country’s 2nd largest mobile operator. Several investigations were initiated by Vimpelcom, the parent company of Banglalink against senior officials of the company, and as outcomes, many of those officials have already been removed or transferred. In the meantime, Vimpelcom has planned further actions against such corrupt individuals, which includes transfer, termination of job contract and other actions. However, it could not be known immediately why Vimpelcom is initiating these and why now? Many top officials are currently passing their days in anxiety, fearing their own termination or transfer notices. Sadly, most of these targeted employees are Bangladeshis, although some foreigners’ names are also in the list. The overall situation in the company is extremely tense and as the employees are passing days in fear, their attitude and approach to everyday work is at best passive nowadays.
Specific allegations are being pointed at a Deputy Manager of the company’s Procurement and Supply Chain department, because of whom the entire company has gotten embroiled in this tense and uneasy situation. Multiple internal sources based on anonymity within Banglalink have confirmed that this Deputy Manager has amassed huge illegal wealth and is involved in conspiracy and anti-organization activities – as a result of which the image of the entire company has been heavily dented. It is alleged that this Deputy Manager who is an Australian Resident is actively and desperately involved in covering up his millions of embezzled funds by providing Vimpelcom authorities with deliberately tampered information so as to deviate the suspicion from himself.
It has been identified that the name of this Deputy Manager is Muhitur Rahman Chowdhury. Our investigations further revealed Muhitur Rahman to be a low level Banglalink employee who has made himself personal assets and cash properties worth to the tune of 500 million BDT. He has amassed himself with multiple properties in Bangladesh and abroad, hoarding up a mountain of illegal wealth for himself. He has gotten himself involved with money laundering and other corrupt practices. Because of his deliberately created complexities within Banglalink, an internal audit also aroused the attention of a special force of the country, which is causing turmoil. He owns several luxurious flats and plots in prime locations in Dhaka city’s Bashundhara and Dhanmondi areas. He also has a premium property in Australia, which he has kept empty for years and years since he can afford to do so with his illegal wealth. He has also hoarded up huge wealth in Malaysia and other countries, using his and his associates’ names. During his long service tenure in Banglalink, he has travelled on multiple personal luxurious foreign trips along with his entire family. None of these trips, each costing hundreds of thousands of takas have ever been accounted for, nor reported in his annual tax filings.
In multiple interviews with several Banglalink employees across many departments, it is alleged that Muhitur claims himself to be a private service holder only. But in reality, Muhitur is the explicit or implicit owner of several establishments that directly do business with Banglalink. There is specific allegation that for the last seven years he has done exclusive business with Banglalink through these establishments and controlling the tendering process without any influence from anyone. Installation of street billboards, banner and advertisement projects across all airports of Bangladesh, wall painting, TV airing, newspaper advertisements are all controlled by Muhitur and in the process he is earning millions of taka every month as commission from the vendors. Additionally he also makes millions from cultural events such as Nouka Baich and various concerts in the names of his shadow establishments. Apart from awarding tenders to his favored vendors, allegation has been raised on his role regarding doing business with special government agencies and using their influence to keep him in his current role. In this way, in all tenders Muhitur is siphoning off millions of takas by falsely inflating tender prices.
On this issue, Bangladesh Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) lawyer Barrister G. Islam raised a vital question to Jugantor as to how Muhitur, being a junior employee of Banglalink managed to amass such huge wealth – this needs to be investigated properly. Attention was further drawn to the fact on how he could buy luxurious property in Australia, the source of this income and how was this money transferred? At the same time, it needs to be investigated how he has been working in the same post for the last seven years and whether any group internally is benefiting by keeping him in this position! His opinion is clear in this matter, as a can of worms may be opened in the process.
Despite repeatedly trying to contact Muhitur, he has declined to comment on this issue. He has denied allegations of his involvement in tender manipulations, doing business with several government agencies and using their influence to keep him in his current position. In regards to his expensive world tours with entire family including his property in Australia and showing these off in his personal social media facebook pages, he has denied all involvement. He said there is no such post in his facebook page and he is not involved with any sort of corruption or malpractice.
In the meantime, it has also come into light that Vimpelcom is preparing for yet another massive restructuring in Banglalink. One of the owners of Vimpelcom recently paid a secret visit to Bangladesh where he personally met several policy makers in the country. But it is yet to be known as to the true purpose or the nature of his sudden trip.