Commerce probe goes limping
Six months into its formation, a commerce ministry probe body has yet to submit its report on alleged irregularities of multilevel marketing company Destiny-2000.
The commerce secretary now pins the blame on the probe body chief Ahmedur Rahim, registrar of joint stock companies and firms (RJSCF), who has recently been transferred to another ministry.
Two agencies — Bangladesh Bank and the Anti-Corruption Commission — have already submitted their reports on Destiny.
The ACC has also filed two cases against Destiny’s top brass for money laundering. The Department of Cooperatives will submit its report on Destiny’s cooperative wing to the ministry concerned this week.
“The committee [commerce ministry’s] cannot avoid the responsibility. We are looking into the issue,” Commerce Secretary Ghulam Hussain told journalists at his office yesterday.
“The RJSCF did not want to do the work beyond its duty,” he said. But the secretary did not comment about the failure of other members of the probe body.
The RJSCF gave registration to Destiny 2000, an MLM wing and the very first concern of Destiny Group, in 2000. Its responsibility is to see whether a registered company is doing anything against memorandum of articles submitted during the registration.
The commerce ministry on February 13 formed the six-member probe body following a central bank report. Other members of the committee were from the finance, commerce and home ministries and from the Bangladesh Bank and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The committee submitted its report first in April, but that was incomplete and termed by the commerce secretary “ridiculous”.
The ministry sent back the report but the committee failed again. It even gave the probe body a third chance; the report was unacceptable this time too.
As per the terms of references (TOR), the probe committee was supposed to examine whether the company and its subsidiaries function as per the memorandum of articles.
Also, the committee was meant to unearth the irregularities, including illegal financial transaction of Destiny-2000 and its sister concerns.
“The first report submitted by the committee to us was ridiculous. Contents of the report were the minutes of a meeting in the ministry,” Hussain said. The second and the third reports were also incomplete and did not cover the TOR.
In the meantime, the probe committee chief Ahmedur Rahim has been transferred from the RJSCF and the new registrar would take over as the chair of the probe body, said the commerce secretary.
“The new committee has been given two months to submit its report,” he said. The secretary did not say why his ministry-formed body failed to prepare a report even in six months.
Ahmedur Rahim could not be reached for comments.
Meanwhile, employees of Destiny Group yesterday said they have not fallen from the sky and will prove their power and presence.
They claimed the media reports against their company are fabricated and vested interests are behind the “propaganda”.
“We have 45 lakh distributors across the country. We’ll wait till Eid-ul-Fitr to see whether our bank accounts are opened or not,” Saifur Rahman Tipu, Destiny general manager (marketing, sales and operation), told a press conference at the Jatiya Press Club.
Tipu claimed 3,000 employees of Destiny Group are not getting their salaries for the past three months as its bank accounts have been frozen by the central bank and the revenue board. But he could not say how many of Destiny accounts have been seized.
The press conference was overcrowded by a large number of Destiny employees and distributors.
Courtesy of The Daily Star