Khaleda's regime 2001-2006: Koko owned thousands of crores of money just by commission trading

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Published on November 1, 2022
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After coming to power in 2001, Arafat Rahman Koko, the younger son of then Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, used to regularly receive a percentage from all major government contracts and tenders in the country till 2006. This son of Ziaur Rahman used to pressure his mother to give the projects to the preferred company as per the demand. After the caretaker government came to power in 2007, Giasuddin Al Mamun, the business partner of Lutfozzaman Babar and Tarique Rahman's business partner, confessed these to the law-enforcing agencies after his arrest on corruption charges.

The daily Ittefaq, the Prothom Alo and the Samakal published detailed reports on these incidents.

According to Babar, Warid Telecom gave a commission of $1.5 billion dollars or Tk 15,000 crore for permission to operate its business in Bangladesh. Of the amount, Tarique Rahman's younger brother Arafat Rahman Koko alone took Tk 900 crore. The remaining Tk 500 crore was given to Tarique Rahman for BNP's fund and the rest Tk 100 crore to BNP MP and Khaleda Zia's close associate Ali Asghar Lobi.

In addition, Khaleda Zia's son Koko took a commission of $ 3 million or Tk 3000 crore from the Chinese company for getting the work of a spare part of the T&T board. He also took a hefty commission from the German company in exchange for giving it the project for the machine-readable passport. But the minister cancelled the project because the share of that money was not given to Sofiur Rahman, the son of then Finance Minister Saifur Rahman.

In order to provide ministry works to various companies within the country, Koko established a ceramics and a diaper factory with Khaleda Zia's close aide Mosaddak Ali Falu. During the caretaker government, Tarique Rahman's friend Giasuddin Al Mamun confessed to the detectives that Koko's wife has shares in two TV channels established by Falu.

Babar confessed that Koko used to monopolize the billboard business in Dhaka city. He used to misbehave with many ministers of the government if he did not get work. Even while doing business, Koko evaded tax of crores of money.

In addition, Koko took a bribe of Tk 17 crore from a Chinese company for a Tk 317 crore project for the construction of Chittagong Port's Newmooring Terminal at the end of BNP’s regime. But in the meantime, the company fell into a trap with bribe money with the change of the government. Koko, with Shipping Minister Akbar Hossain’s son Ismail Hossain Saimon, even got GATCO to work in Chittagong Port and Dhaka's Kamalapur Railway Station internal depot in exchange for a huge amount of money. Although GATCO was dismissed from the ministry at first, Koko gave the job to GATCO through his mother Khaleda Zia. For this, Saimon gave Koko a commission of about Tk 5 crore in several phases. The caretaker government arrested Koko in this corruption case.