Destiny Under Scanner
Questions over sister concerns
NBR asks banks to turn in accounts, transaction details
The controversial multilevel marketing (MLM) company Destiny hoodwinks people by adding to its group portfolio some companies that exist only on paper.
For instance, among its 37 sister concerns listed on the website is Destiny Life Insurance Company. Although the insurance company is nowhere near getting a licence, it is selling the name of its mother company, Destiny-2000 Ltd, to its would-be distributors.
Of these 37 concerns, many, including Destiny Builders, Destiny Medical College Hospital and Best Air, are yet to begin operations.
“We’ve applied for a life insurance company licence, but we are yet to get it,” Rafiqul Amin, managing director of Destiny Group, told The Daily Star yesterday.
“It’s not cheating, it’s a forecast,” he said, explaining why the insurance company’s name had been posted on the company’s website as a sister concern.
Over the past few days, various newspapers have published reports on numerous irregularities of Destiny-2000 following a Bangladesh Bank inquiry that found proof of illegal banking by Destiny Multipurpose Co-operative Society, a Destiny concern.
Illegal banking by the co-operative is creating disorder in the country’s financial sector, said the BB probe report, which was sent to the finance ministry recently.
Rafiqul Amin said Destiny’s 37 concerns included two multilevel marketing companies.
Of them, 20 have been set up in less than a year and 15 others in a little more than a year. The group started its business with Destiny-2000 Ltd, an MLM company, in 2000.
A number of its sister concerns, like Boishakhi Television, Destiny Hitachi Electric Industries and Configure Housing, were taken over from other companies.
Such a miracle — becoming a mother company of 37 concerns from an MLM company — happened despite the company’s incurring losses till 2006.
“We were struggling till 2006, but we paid 700 percent dividend in 2007. It was possible when we started manufacturing our own products instead of sourcing those from others,” said Amin, explaining how the magic worked out.
“The middlemen ate up huge amounts of money for supplying goods to us till 2006,” he added.
Talking to this correspondent over the phone, he claimed himself to be an “honest citizen” and said he had obtained a PhD on MLM from the US.
He said 12 members, including himself, had started Destiny-2000, with each member putting in Tk 12 lakh.
Former army chief Harun-Ar-Rashid, who joined the company in 2007, paid nearly Tk 1 crore for buying shares of the company to become a director, Amin said.
The former army chief had to pay such a big amount as the share price of the company rose to Tk 700 from an initial Tk 100 each, he added.
Meanwhile, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) yesterday asked banks to send account and other transaction information on Destiny and its sister concerns to it within seven days.
The tax regulator also sought account details of all directors of Destiny-2000 Ltd and nine of its sister concerns, said an NBR official.
“We’ve asked banks to furnish information on all types of accounts of these firms and their directors to see if the company has evaded tax or flouted any rules,” he said, requesting anonymity.
The move comes two days after the NBR called for the tax files of Destiny and its sister concerns from the field offices to be made available to it in order to look into possible tax dodging by the company.
-With The Daily Star input