Saturday, 27 November, 2021

Lavish life style of a jobless man

  • Justice AHM Shamsuddin Choudhury Manik
  • 20 November, 2021 12:00 AM
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Lavish life style of a jobless man

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Many people of Bengal are familiar with the idiom ‘Gariber Ghorarog’ (living beyond one’s means). Simply we can say that the poor people, who cannot afford ability and control desire to ride a horse, fall in danger. Renowned cinematographer Gautam Ghosh in his film ‘Moner Manush' has portrayed Baul Sadh as young and poor Lalon who also had a ‘Ghorarog’ which caused him to run away with his lord’s horse one day and he had to be punished for it. But there is no such thing as “Bekarer Ghorarog’ in Bengali dictionary. There are many unemployed people having ‘Ghorarog’ which is more complicated. But, the difference is that the jobless are not poor at all but they are unemployed. Even in many cases, their wealth is higher than that of many millionaires. One of such millionaire jobless people is Tarique Zia, who is the elder son of General Zia and Khaleda Zia.

Zia’s followers often say that Zia left behind a broken suitcase and a torn t-shirt. Incredibly, his sons are pulling out millions of dollars from that broken suitcase, which is visible to everyone.

Recently, four agencies who are working for preventing money laundering in Bangladesh have started investigation against the unemployed youth based on the information of laundering huge amount of money from Dhaka and Sylhet. Of course, they deserve praise. But the question is what did they do for so long? It is not their out of knowledge that jobless Tarique Zia has been living a more luxury life than the wealthy British capitalist for more than a decade. He has no job or income in London but he is living an extraordinary luxury life so it is normal to assume that he is laundering money from the country. The people of the country know that Tarique Zia is living a luxury life though he is a jobless person. But many people don’t know how luxury life Tarique is leading and the purpose of this article is to inform them.

There are several types of houses in London and the price and amount of rent of the houses are depending on the type of house. The council flat is least expensive home. Apart from this, there are also terraced houses where lower middleclass people are living.    It has a semi-detached house with one side open where middle-class people are living. Wealthy people live in detached houses with open gardens on either side. Those who are truly billionaires can live in the detached houses in London. Very few Bengalis live in the detached houses. Those who live in such an expensive home are very successful professionals such as high-profile doctors, high-income barristers, solicitors, accountants or very wealthy businessmen because the minimum amount of rent of these houses is lakhs of taka per month. The price or rent of a detached house is not the same in all areas. In more elite areas like Kingston, where Tarique Zia lives, the rent is higher. There are free schools in the UK run by the government. Even the children of many rich people go to the government schools. People also can admit their children to grammar schools and public schools but they have to pay fees for the two types of schools. The fees of the grammar school are a bit low while the fee of a private school is higher, which worth at least Tk 3 million.

Tarique Zia sent his daughter Zaima to a public school but later he had to pay Tk 12 lakh per year for his daughter to make her barrister. Tarique Zia’s detached house with a big garden has at least 10 workers including gardeners, cooks, cleaners, security guards who have to be paid as British. Apart from this, there is also the cost of his car and fuel costs, etc. Tarique Zia lives with his wife and child on a street called Golf Drive, an aristocratic neighborhood in Kingston upon Thames, in a luxurious royal detached house called White Chase. There are several domestic helps in the house. It was learned from newspaper that her daughter recently became a barrister.

To study barrister in London you have to pay a few thousand pounds per year as tuition fees. There are government schools in the city where salaries are not required. And there are private schools where you have to pay a lot of money.

A large number of people in that country, including the children of many lawmakers and ministers, go to government schools. But the ultra rich people send their children to private schools paying hefty fees. And the comparatively low paid schools are called Grammar School.

Tarique Rahman sent his daughter to a private school named Mary Mount with a huge salary. Koko’s widow lives in another detached house in the same area on Wontford Close Road as well. Her two daughters also attended Coombe Girls’ School, a high-paying private educational institution. Tarique Zia is a completely unemployed person in London who has no visible income. However, in London, the unemployed people receive state allowances. With that allowance a person can somehow survive, but no allowance is given for leading a luxury life and paying fees for private schools. It is clear that Tarique Zia leads a luxury life in London like a British lord. When I was an expatriate, I was working at a high salary. My wife was also well paid as a teacher. For some time I was the sole owner of London’s oldest weekly, Janamat. Apart from that, as the owner of more than one house, I got good amount of rent. Despite my income from renting house, I did not think of sending my two daughters to a private school. Rather I sent them to a low-cost grammar school. The question is how this unemployed Tariq Zia is living such a luxurious life. It is for sure that money is being trafficked to London for him.

The list of those who have smuggled money from Bangladesh to different countries is quite long. The amount of money smuggled is also skyrocketing. I hope the nation will know that one day. A portion of this money can be recovered on the basis of international assistance. But the question is, when? Another question is whether the ongoing trafficking process will stop. According to the Foreign Exchange Control Act 1947, not a single penny can be sent abroad without the permission of Bangladesh Bank. Travelers can carry only 7 thousand dollars a year abroad. And for the same reason, if more money is taken from Bangladesh, the smuggler in the country concerned has to face punishment under money laundering act.

It means it is a serious punishable crime in both countries. Therefore, money is usually sent to countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Middle Eastern countries where there is no control over foreign exchange. Money laundering cannot be controlled if those involved do not act responsibly for preventing laundering. Recently, honourable High Court has said that the senior officials of Bangladesh Bank are helping many people in illegal activities. If there is a ghost in the head then how to get rid of the ghost?

There are two more strict laws in London, one of which is the ‘Profit of Crime Act’, which stipulates that if a person earns money by engaging in crime, all his money is confiscated. Another law is the ‘Undisclosed Wealth Act’. According to the law, if a person owns any property without visible income, his property is confiscated. Tarique Zia must be guilty of these two laws. But these have to be reported to the British government. Who will report it? Apart from that, the people of Bangladesh should also know how this unemployed youth is living such a luxury life.

(The writer is a retired Justice of Appellate Division)