Press Release Summary = An international drug cartel has long been using Bangladesh as a conduit for drug trafficking to other countries, taking help from a local crime syndicate and advantage of administrative loopholes, according to sources in police and tax administrations.
Press Release Body = An international drug cartel has long been using Bangladesh as a conduit for drug trafficking to other countries, taking help from a local crime syndicate and advantage of administrative loopholes, according to sources in police and tax administrations. Upon a request from the British government almost a year ago, the authorities have traced a syndicate trafficking drugs in the guise of a formal business by employing new techniques to use government machineries to its advantage. The British government detected consignments of illegal drugs, shipped from a Bangladeshi port to the United Kingdom, which had remained unclaimed at Southampton and Felixstowe ports and requested Bangladesh to investigate the cases in May 2005. The Bangladesh government subsequently formed a special committee, which submitted a report (a copy of which is obtained by New Age) to the National Board of Revenue and the Criminal Investigation Department after four months of investigation, outlining how the racket used the administrative loopholes. The committee was headed by Shah Alam Khan, director general of the customs intelligence and investigation department, and comprised representatives from the customs intelligence and investigation department, the Department of Narcotics Control, the Bangladesh Bank and the National Board of Revenue. The report says a leading private company, BD Foods Limited, and its sister concerns has manipulated the entire export process, starting from getting a trade license to shipment of the consignment to the UK ports. The committee found officials at the Dhaka City Corporation, the National Board of Revenue, the Chittagong Port Authorities, the Sonali Bank, the Customs Department, customs clearing and forwarding agents involved in the process. At the same, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime also investigated the smuggling of three consignments of at least 75.5 kilograms of heroin smuggled from Bangladesh to the United Kingdom through the Chittagong port at different times in 2005. Officials at the narcotics control department believe the smuggled heroin, worth about Tk 1 Billion on the international market, might have been brought in from Afghanistan to Bangladesh through the border with India and shipped for Europe. The investigators found that Emdad Trading, Jamil International, MM Enterprise and Green Heaven Enterprise had exported the consignments to Ocean Line Foods, MS Bengal Bay and Coastal Spices and to the United Kingdom. According to the investigation report, these companies remain only on papers and their trade licenses, and tax identification numbers and business identification numbers are not used for the companies in question, they said. 'The offices of two of the companies - M/s MM Enterprise and Green Heaven Enterprise - were not available during the course of investigation,' says the report. 'Most of the companies are owned by employees of the BD Foods Limited.' The narcotics department sources said, after receiving the income tax certificate from the Motijheel Value Added Tax Office and the trade license from the Dhaka City Corporation, the investigators confirmed that one Shamsul Arefin is the owner of the Jamil International and M/s Emdad Trading. However, he used different names in the slot for name of parents but used the same photographs, they found. The companies had also been using false tax identification and business identification numbers. The British government's letter also requested the Bangladeshi authorities for information on the existence of the companies, types of business they were involved in, and recipients of the shipments Shuhel Ahmed, Shah Alam, Shamsul Islam and Ranu Mia. It also asked whether Bangladeshi regulations allow two companies to use the same VAT registration number (9011036284) and, if not, who had actually been using the registration number. It said that the authorities had seized 21.5Kg heroin from two shipments exported by M/s Emdad Trading of 195/1 Fakirerpool and Jamil International of 190 Fakirerpool. The letter also mentioned that Emdad Trading had exported 14kg heroin under the shipment of 'Beauty Products and Tissues', reached the Felixstowe port on March 1, 2005, while Jamil International had exported 7.5kg heroin under the shipment of 'Foodstuff' which reached the Southampton port on February 14, 2005. On May 20 2005, the British authorities issued a second letter, saying Green Heaven Enterprise had exported 54Kg heroin in a shipment under 'Floor tiles', which reached Southampton on April 17, 2005. A Line Shipping Limited was the shipper and Shuhel Ahmed, Shah Alam, Shamsul Islam and Ranu Mia were the recipients. During the four-month investigation, the committee found that Delwar Hossain Chowdhury, owner of Trusty Trading Corporation, and Mohammad Mainuddin, manager of King and Company, a sister concern of M/s BD Foods Limited, to be involved in heroin smuggling for long, in the name of different organisations, with the help of Nazmul Hayder Bulbul, owner of the M/S Emdad Trading and supposedly a former BD Foods employee. The committee also found that Bulbul was very close to Badrul Hayder Chowdhury, chairman of King and Company and M/s BD Foods Limited, as the companies did not bother to ask for his photograph when employing him. The committee recommended that action should be taken staffs and high officials of the companies and Kazi Jafar Reza, 14 Nayatola, Moghbazar, who had paid the freight bill for M/s MM Enterprise and Green Heaven Enterprise. Later, the report was submitted to the Criminal Investigation Department with a request to file a case against the accused. It is learnt that a quarter has been dillydallying to file a regular case against the accused.
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