Politicians stash wealth in share market

Fakhrul Islam and Sanaullah Sakib | Update:

[From left to right] HM Ershad, Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Salman F Rahman, Mirza Abbas, Shahriar Alam, BH Harun, Ruhul Amin Howlader, and Hazi Md SelimThe Bangladesh share market faced two big scams during the Awami League regime. As a result, the general public lost their faith in the market. But political leaders from both the ruling and opposition camps apparently placed profound trust in it. At least, this was indicated in their statements submitted to the election commission.

The declarations disclosed that a large percentage of the aspiring candidate of the upcoming 11th parliamentary polls have huge investment in the country’s share market. This seems to have been a major source of their earnings over the last few years.

Bangladesh Security Exchange Commission’s (BSEC) former chairman Faruq Ahmad Siddiqi said, “If the politicians invest huge amounts of money in the share markets and that too after the 2010 stock market crisis, I see this as a positive sign.”

“However, it is difficult to understand why they choose to invest in the share market.”

Asked about the injection of black money into the share market, Faruq Ahmad said, “That may happen, but not it’s not likely as they are supposed to present details of their wealth through their declaration to the election commission (EC).”

“If they don’t do so, then the question remains to be asked. My question is, who will answer the question?” he added.

Awami League (AL)

According to the declarations, Beximco Group’s vice chairman Salman F Rahman, seeking candidacy for the Dhaka-1 constituency, has invested Tk 8.05 billion in some companies both listed and unlisted with the share market.

Salman is a big name in the share market. There were allegations against him in connection with the two big share market crises.

Salman mentioned that he has only 21 million taka in cash while 28.70 million taka is deposited with the banks and other financial institutions.

Fazle Nur Taposh, an AL candidate aspirant of Dhaka-10 constituency, has an investment of 432.755 million taka in the share market and 430 million taka in fixed deposit.

He earned, according to his statement, 81 million taka from the share market during the current regime of the Awami League while he has 60 million taka in cash and 97.8 million taka in the banks and financial institutions.

Shahriar Alam, state minister for foreign affairs, mentioned that his wife and son have an investment of 630 million taka in the share market. Three of the family members have 97 million taka deposited with the banks and financial institutions.

Madaripur-1’s Awami League candidate aspirant Nur-e-Alam Chowdhury and his wife have an investment of 370 million taka in banks and financial institutions.

Dhaka-11 constituency’s AKM Rahmat Ullah and his wife have an investment of 280 million taka in the share market while Kushtia-3 constituency’s Mahbubul Alam Hanif has 48.1 million taka in the share market.

Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal and his wife have an investment of 470 million taka in the share market and 20 million taka in banks and financial institutions. His wife has 18.5 million taka invested in savings certificates.

Local government, rural development and cooperatives minister Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, declared that he has an investment of 46.6 million taka in the share market. He earned 668.2 million taka from this investment.
He has also investment of 113.3 million taka in the savings certificates.

Planning minister AHM Mostafa Kamal has 74.8 million taka in the companies both of listed and unlisted with share market. His wife also has a 109.9 million taka in the share market. They have 490 million taka in savings certificates. They also have 70 million taka in the banks.

Jhalakathi-1 constituency’s candidate aspirant Bazlul Haque Harun and his wife have investment of 220 million taka in the share market and they have 50 million taka as fixed deposit.

Saber Hossain Chowdhury and his wife have an investment of 130 million taka in the share market. He earned 6.8 million taka from the share market.
The couple has 350 million taka as fixed deposit. They have 40 million taka deposited with banks and financial institutions.
Agriculture minister Matia Chowdhury has invested 62.5 million taka in the share market and has 10.5 million as fixed deposit and in savings certificates.

Former health minister AHM Ruhul Haque and his wife have an investment of 36 million taka in the share market and 45 million taka in savings certificates.

Dhaka-19 constituency’s Enamur Rahman and his wife have 47 million taka in the share market while Dhaka-12’s Haji Md Selim 627.2 million taka in the share market.

BNP and Jatiya Party

BNP’s Dhaka-8 constituency aspirant Mirza Abbas has an investment of more than 292.9 million taka in the share market while his wife Afroza Abbas has 100.4 million taka in the share market and 21.1 million taka in savings certificates.

Mirza Abbas has 36.2 million taka in cash and Afroza Abbas has 23 million taka in cash.

Noakhali-5 constituency’s Moudud Ahmed has invested 332 million taka in the share market. He also has bought 100 million taka worth of savings certificates. He has 6.48 million taka deposited with the banks.

Standing committee member of the bank Chattogram-11’s Amir Khasru Mahmud has 19.74 million taka in share market and bought 15.6 million taka savings certificates and 1.45 million taka in banks.

Former foreign affairs minister and Chattogram-8 constituency’s M Morshed Khan has an investment of 396.974 million taka in the share market and 250 million taka in cash and 3.56 million taka in banks.

BNP’s former MP Salahuddin Ahmed has an investment of 11.8 million taka in the share market and 3.845 million taka in banks.

Jatiya Party chairman Hussain Muhammad Ershad has an investment of 440 million taka in the share market. Ershad, who is also special emissary to the prime minister, has more than 3.769 million taka in cash. His wife Rowshan Ershad has over 262.29 million taka in cash.

Recently removed JaPa’s secretary general Ruhul Amin Howlader has investment of 77 million taka and his wife 16.5 million taka in the share market. He has bought savings certificates of 50 million taka.

Policy Research Institute (PRI) executive director Ahsan H Mansur said, “They have actually kept some portion of their money in the share market. On the other hand, there is no one check of the wealth they have mentioned in the declarations.”

“Once it has been investigated, the real picture of their wealth would be unveiled,” he added.

Ahsan Mansur added the government is talking about how poor people benefit from savings certificates. But, the declarations reveal that it is the politicians and government officials who are main beneficiaries of the savings certificates.

* This piece, originally published in Prothom Alo Bangla print edition, has been rewritten in English by Toriqul Islam

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