Tabith Awal, the mayor candidate of BNP for Dhaka North City Corporation, has declined to comment on a report that he owns a Singapore-based company but withheld the information in his affidavit to the Election Commission.
According to bdnews24.com, the reporter contacted him for comments on Sunday after Netra News published the report citing documents from the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) of Singapore.
Tabith is one of the three owner-directors of NFM Energy (Singapore) PTE LTD while the two other owners are his brothers Tafsir Awal and Tajwar Awal, according to the report published last Thursday.
“Though the company has millions of dollars of assets and liabilities, Tabith did not include its name in his disclosure to the EC, in likely violation of Bangladeshi electoral laws and regulations,” it added.
The latest financial statement of the company shows that it has total assets worth nearly $2.15 million and liabilities of around $2.63 million, Netra News said.
The Sweden-based news publisher claims to have seen evidence that the company holds a significant stake in Bangladesh Petrochemical Company Limited or BPCL, of which Tajwar is a director as a representative of NFM Energy.
BPCL is not included in the list of 37 companies that Tabith disclosed to the EC as his business interests.
Tabith is the son of BNP leader Abdul Awal Mintoo. The family had been named in the Paradise Papers, leaked documents that showed how the wealthy families secretly invested in offshore tax havens.
Tabith had not responded to a question on the issue citing the “electoral code of conduct” during a recent interview with bdnews24.com.
Iftekharuzzaman, the executive chairman of Transparency International, Bangladesh or TIB, believes the authorities should inquire about the latest report on Tabith’s ownership in the Singapore firm.
“Withholding information on wealth in affidavit is a breach of electoral code of conduct. It’s the Election Commission’s duty to check the matter and take steps accordingly,” he said.
The issue also falls under the Anti-Corruption Commission’s jurisdiction, he added.