Biman’s litany of corruption: From ticket sales to aircraft leasing

Chowdhury Akbor Hossain
Published : 00:06, Apr 14, 2019 | Updated : 00:07, Apr 14, 2019

A Biman Bangladesh Airlines aircraft made an emergency landing at Chattogram on Tuesday following technical glitchThough Biman made profit in the last few years, the state owned airline is facing losses once more. In the 2017-18 fiscal year, the losses went up to Tk 2.01 billion. Due to corruption in cargo transport, aircraft lease and ticket sales, the national carrier could not see profit.
However, the deputy minister has said that efforts have been taken to transform Biman into a profit making body.
Anti-Corruption Commission, ACC, has said that Biman faces corruption in eight sectors.
ACC commissioner, Dr Md. Mozammel Huq Khan, handed a report of graft in Biman to state minister for tourism and civil aviation, Md. Mahbub Ali.
The ministry began a probe based on ACC’s report and found corruption in aircraft lease, buying of equipment, fiddling with cargo accounts, irregularities in ticket sales, presenting of ghost vouchers etc.
Biman sources say that in 2016-17 fiscal year, Biman’s pre-tax profit was Tk 1.51 billion which was Tk 1.27 billion in 2015-16.
The financial, statement of 2018 was not published on the pretext that the annual general meet was not held. Later, it was revealed that in 2017-18, Biman’s loss is Tk 2.01 billion.
Due to irregularities in ticket sales, two officials of Biman’s marketing were made Officer on Special Duty, OSD.
The persons are acting head of marketing, Ashraful Alam, and Biman’s former London country manager, Shafiqul Islam.
Shafiqul allegedly embezzled Tk 160 million by selling 2,500 tickets. Meanwhile, Ashraful Alam is accused of providing special facilities by blocking seats to travel agencies.
The report further states that there is evidence of corruption in appointing General Sales Agent or GSA.
When a flight is delayed, the rule is to keep the waiting passengers in a hotel though evidence shows that instead of keeping passengers in hotels, phantom bills are made.
In 2014, Biman leased two planes from Egypt Air for five years but for those two planes, Biman is having to incur Tk 100 million as loss every month.
State minister for tourism and aviation, Md. Mahbub Ali, says: “Some steps have already been taken to transform Biman into a profitable organisation; more measures are on the cards and legal steps will be taken against those who were involved in corruption.”
No corrupt person will be spared, he stated emphatically.