Bangladesh agency opens probe into bank accounts of Naem Nizam, Peer Habibur Rahman

  • Senior Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2020-06-15 19:16:25 BdST

bdnews24

Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit has opened an investigation into the bank accounts held by Naem Nizam and Peer Habibur Rahman, editor and executive editor of Bangladesh Pratidin.

The BFIU, the central agency that investigates money laundering and suspicious transactions, has ordered all banks to send in financial information, including bank statements of the two journalists.

A BFIU high-up confirmed the development to bdnews24.com, saying: “Yes, we’re conducting an open search.” But the official sought to remain anonymous as the information is “highly sensitive”.

“We go for an open search when any agency wants the financial information of a person or there’s a media report on the person,” the official said, responding to a question on why the account statements were asked for.

“If it’s an open search we ask all the banks for information or a particular bank if a law-enforcement agency or any other government unit wants it,” the official said.

The official did not disclose the name of the agency that sought the information on the two journalists, saying the issue is “highly confidential”. 

bdnews24.com called Naem Nizam for comment, but his mobile phone was switched off, and Peer Habibur said: “I didn’t know anything about it beforehand. I heard it first from you.”

Naem Nizam and Habibur Rahman often hit the spotlight for their controversial roles during the rule of the army-backed caretaker government in 2007-08.

In his book, "Reporter to Editor", Bangladesh Pratidin's founding editor Shahjahan Sardar wrote that the two had applied to the authorities seeking to start a television channel during the 1/11 regime.

After Shahjahan Sardar, Naem Nizam became the editor of the newspaper. He is also the chief executive of News24.

Naem Nizam served different media outlets, including newspapers Ajker Kagoj and Bhorer Kagoj and private broadcaster ATN. He is also the current secretary-general of Sampadak Parishad, a network of editors.

Peer Habibur, executive editor of Bangladesh Pratidin, a Bangla-language newspaper, hogged the headlines by writing a controversial column in a newspaper during the rule of the army-backed caretaker administration. He had also worked for Jugantor and Banglabazar, both Bangla-language newspapers.

Peer Habibur also drew criticism from different quarters by posting a torrent of controversial statuses on Facebook. He was once suspended from Bangladesh Pratidin but got back his job later. He is also known for hobnobbing with top Jatiya Party leaders, including the late dictator HM Ershad and Naziur Rahman Manju.