Speed money makes AL MP billionaire

Selim Zahid and Abul Kalam Muhammad Azad, from Rajshahi | Update:

Abdul Wadud. Prothom Alo file photoAbdul Wadud, a ruling party member of parialment (MP) from Rajshahi's Puthia-Durgapur constituency, has made millions in the past nine years, thanks to the practice of taking bribes to get them jobs.

Many have landed their desired jobs bribing the MP, but there are many who had given him money, yet to no avail. At least 15 such people had contacted Prothom Alo to give details of the way they had been deceived. There are five people who have got back only a part of the money after much difficulty.

According to different government organisations, since 2009, 217 assistant teachers and headmasters were appointed to different high schools, 187 lecturers to different colleges and 31 nightguard-cum-office-assistants were recruited to primary schools. In Durgapur, 208 people were appointed to different educational institutes.

Local Awami League leaders and victims say Abdul Wadud was directly involved with all these recruitments and he took Tk 500,000 to Tk 1.7 million from each person. The MP's brother Sharif Qazi, uncle Alimuzzaman alias Montu Kazi and Shilmaria union Awami League general secretary Shukur Ali took most of the money on behalf of the parliamentarian. The trio have denied the allegations though, saying people love gossips about the MP.

However, in his affidavit prior to the 2014 election, he did claim that he helped 4,000 youths get government and private jobs. While speaking to this correspondents, he admitted that around 600 people got their jobs thanks to his recommendation.

Eight local Awami League leaders and local representatives have written to the prime minister, complaining against Abdul Wadud's corruption. Signatories to the letter are Durgapur upazila AL general secretary and municipality mayor Tofazzal Hossain, Rajshahi district AL adviser and Kismatgonkoir union parishad (UP) chairman Afsar Ali Molla, Mahila AL president and upazila vice chairman Banesa Begum and five other UP chairmen. They said as many 58 of the recruited people were loyal to the BNP, 15 from Jamaat and five were associated with the JMB.

MP Abdul Wadud refuted the allegations, saying he was an established businessman and he did not need to take money from anyone.

"I hear district Awami League general secretary Asaduzzaman is behind this. People who once took help from me are now trying to do this. They want more benefits and better posts," he alleged.

Jhaluka UP chairman and AL leader Md Mojahar Ali said the MP had made at least Tk 10 million by appointing people to Durgapur Degree College and Kanpara Jobeda Degree College. "But he did nothing for the colleges," he said, adding that Mozahar himself gave the MP Tk 800,000 for arranging jobs for two people.

When asked, the MP said, "These are utter lies... You may ask anyone."

In his affidavit prior to the 2009 election, Abdul Wadud said neither he nor his wife had any land. However, five years later, after he was an MP for a term, he said in his affidavit before the 2014 election that he had agricultural land worth over 6 million while his wife had land over Tk 4 million. The non-agricultural land he has is worth over Tk 4.4 million.

Local AL leaders said a better picture will be in hand when he submits an affidavit prior to the next elections.

However, the MP denied any wrongdoing. "I have been a businessman exporting RMG products since 1995. I started with 198 machines, but now my company has more than 4500 machines."

When asked, Rajshahi district AL general secretary Asaduzzaman said, many have complained against the MP for taking money in exchange for arranging jobs. "He has helped some BNP and Jamaat men to get jobs as well. Grassroots leaders and activists are very agitated over this, but we have informed the party high-ups."

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