Forged docs using Rajshahi mayor’s name used to swindle $78,893 from Korean company

RCC Mayor AHM Khairuzzaman Liton claims
Rajshahi City Corporation Mayor AHM Khairuzzaman Liton addresses a press conference at Rajshahi Nagar Bhaban auditorium on February 16, 2022. Photo: Star

Forged Rajshahi City Corporation documents -- with the name of Mayor AHM Khairuzzaman Liton -- were used for signing a deal worth $10.12 million for procuring eight fire trucks from a South Korean company.

The frauds used the name of the mayor and swindled $78,893 from the South Korean Shinshin Global Company Limited.

Liton, also a presidium member of Awami League, disclosed the information this afternoon at a press conference at Rajshahi Nagar Bhaban auditorium.

"We were completely unaware of the deal. We do not have the authority to sign such a deal with any foreign company," Liton said, adding that fire trucks were never essential for any city corporation in Bangladesh and there is a separate department for using these trucks.

He said the city corporation lodged a general diary in this regard with Boalia Police Station and informed the cybercrime unit of Bangladesh Police and government high-ups.

At the press conference, he gave details with documents in this connection, reports our Rajshahi staff correspondent.

In January 2018, Shinshin Engineering Company Limited, an organisation of Shinshin Global Company Limited, proposed for a 100MW solar power plant in Rajshahi. But discussions over the proposal did not progress.

Three years later in December last year, a top official of the South Korean company called the corporation's engineering adviser Md Ashraful Haque to enquire about the procurement of eight fire trucks.

After discussion with the city corporation mayor, Haque informed the Korean official that they were unaware of the procurement.

Then, Shinshin Global Company Limited sent nine documents where it was found that the frauds made all communication with the company through email, using the name of the mayor.

The documents were false, which also included a fake passport of the mayor, fake contact numbers and fictitious names and posts of different city corporation officials.

The communications suggested that the frauds used the name of the mayor and asked the South Korean company to send $30,000 in Philippines and $48,893 in United Kingdom on different dates if the company wants to secure the $10.12 million project. Shinshin Global Company, in a letter sent to the city corporation, claimed that they gave the money.

The mayor said for him, the most embarrassing part was that the South Korean company submitted a complaint to the Bangladesh Embassy in Seoul against him.

An international fraud circle might be active to tarnish the image of the mayor, or Rajshahi city corporation, and Bangladesh.

"We are not clear yet whether the South Korean company officials are involved or they were swindled by a third party, but we can guess international frauds are involved," AHM Khairuzzaman Liton said.

He also said their internal findings revealed that the digital communications between the frauds and the South Korean company were done from Africa.


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