Niko bribery deals: Tip of the iceberg

Staff Reporter

Niko Resources, a Canadian exploration company established in 1987 entered Bangladesh in 1997 and took part in second round gas block bidding. But it had to wait until 2003 to sign a Joint Venture Agreement with Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration Corporation to develop two gas fields.

But this deal was not done in a clean manner. Instead, Giasuddin Al Mamun had to be paid Taka sixty million in local currency and US$ 240,000 in three phases as bribe.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Corporal Kevin Duggan and Corporal Lloyd Schoepp on November 7-8, 2008 questioned Mamun in jail and he admitted to have received the money in return for ensuring the deal (for Niko). When RCMP officials asked Giasuddin Al Mamun about the source of his influence, he said, “My power is fifty percent. I’m the friend of Tarique Rahman (son of Khaleda Zia who was the Prime Minister during 2001-2006).

Niko bribery case is just tip of the iceberg. Giasuddin Al Mamoon, taking undue advantage of his friendship with the Prime Minister’s son, got indulged into limitless corruption and made hundreds of millions of Taka. Most of these funds were  smuggled out of Bangladesh and landed into Mamun’s foreign bank accounts and offshore accounts.

Weekly Blitz found evidences of another massive corruption. During 2001-2006, Mamun exerted his influence in helping several trading houses in selling Urea fertilizer to Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) at an exorbitant price. Over this period, BCIC purchased Urea fertilizer, mostly imported from Ukraine via a third country at the price of US$ 600-750 per tonnes, while the ex-factory price was below 100 dollars per tonne.
BCIC imports around 1.2-1.5 million tons of Urea fertilizer every year. It can be easily anticipated as to how Giasuddin Al Mamun visibly robbed-off Bangladesh by using his ‘fifty percent power’.