Former parliamentarian accused in urea misappropriation scandal in Bangladesh

In a significant development, a former Bangladesh parliamentarian has been embroiled in a controversy over the misappropriation of imported urea. The Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC), operating under the Ministry of Industries, has uncovered a substantial fraud involving the local transportation of imported urea fertilizers. This case, emerging from the financial year 2022, has led to accusations against five individuals, including the former lawmaker Kamrul Ashraf Khan Poton.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) of Bangladesh is actively involved in the investigation, having filed a lawsuit against the accused parties. The lawsuit alleges that approximately 72,000 metric tonnes of urea, valued at 5,820 million Bangladesh Taka, were misappropriated during the transportation process from port to warehouses. This fertilizer was part of a government-to-government import agreement.

ACC Deputy Director Md Rafikuzzaman lodged the case at the Commission’s Dhaka-1 office on 26 November 2023. Among the accused are Shahadat Hossain and Nazmul Hossain Badal, General Managers of Poton Traders, along with North Bengal representative Md Sohrab Hossain, and Md Ataur Rahman of the Khulna and Noapara units of Poton Traders.

BCIC, along with the investigative team, released an initial report to the media. According to this report, BCIC had contracted Poton Traders for the delivery of 393,000 metric tonnes of urea imported from the Middle East to government warehouses in the financial year 22. The contract stipulated a maximum delivery period of 50 days from the date of release. However, the investigation alleges that Poton Traders failed to deliver 72,000 tonnes of the contracted fertilizer.

The High Court’s directive for a thorough investigation into this matter led to the ACC’s involvement and the subsequent filing of the case. The case remains unresolved, with ongoing inquiries into the alleged embezzlement of fertilizer by Poton Traders, who were responsible for the transportation of the imported urea.

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