Golden Monir’s golden enablers | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 24, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 24, 2020

Editorial

Golden Monir’s golden enablers

Con artistes need corrupt officials to win

The story of Monir Khan, popularly known as Golden Monir, is a jaw-dropping tale of decades of looting people's land, gold smuggling and money laundering, among other crimes, and of amassing unbelievable amounts of wealth—all with the alleged patronage from the highups in Rajuk and the public works ministry. The most remarkable part of this story is that Monir started grabbing land since 2001 and continued to do so until recently, when Rab arrested him and its investigation revealed his ill gotten wealth.

During the BNP-led government, Monir rose to power with the help of a minister and the then Rajuk chairman. This is because he knew how to grease the right palms. When the ruling party changed, he managed to get the same kind of "support" from the existing public officials. It would be interesting to find out why he presented an SUV to an incumbent minister and how he managed to acquire Tk 200 crore worth of plots in various areas of Dhaka, as well as 25 bank accounts with Tk 930 crore in transactions. Or how he bought a car for 1.3 crore from an MP who, by law, cannot transfer ownership of his duty free vehicle within five years of its purchase.

Rab has unraveled Monir's lucrative relations with top Rajuk officials, which allowed him to be involved in recruitments within Rajuk as well as with land deals. Using forged land ownership documents, including forged Rajuk documents and fake official seals, Monir would take over land belonging to other people, accumulating wealth of over Tk 1,050 crore.

So how does a former salesman of crockery and luggage end up being a billionaire? As Rab has revealed, it is because of his steady and close connections with all the right people in the right places. For the public, this is not really a huge revelation. Many ordinary citizens have lost their land to grabbers connected with public officials. What is not so usual is for these robbers and smugglers to be caught in the game, with their patrons being exposed.

We welcome the work of Rab in arresting Monir and revealing the extent of his crimes, as well as those in public service who have enabled him to carry them out unhindered. Rajuk highups, former and present have, as expected, denied any knowledge of any irregularities but this time, it will not be easy to explain away how one person could be the owner of plots worth Tk 200 crore without raising eyebrows. We hope Rab continues its investigation and that its request for four relevant agencies to investigate Monir will be honoured. These drives against criminals and corrupt officials is certainly something the public would like to see and is therefore laudable. We hope this will apply to all public officials who are involved in corruption that has deprived citizens of land, property and other assets that are rightfully theirs.

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