The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court has discussed the purchase of expensive Land Rover cars for trustees of North South University (NSU).
Attorney General AM Amin Uddin said the country's private universities do not want to pay VAT to the government, but they purchase Tk3.5 crore cars for their trustees.
The issue came up at the Appellate bench headed by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, during a Tuesday hearing of a Sunnydale School VAT case.
Barrister Ahsanul Karim conducted the hearing on behalf of Sunnydale School. During the hearing, he said, "The schools have to pay VAT after collecting from the parents. How else would the school be able to pay the VAT?"
When the issue of VAT on educational institutions was being discussed, Amin Uddin said, "A few days ago, I saw in a newspaper that a private university had bought cars for each member of their board of trustees spending Tk3.5 crore on each car."
Upon hearing this, Justice Mohammad Iman Ali of the Appellate Division wanted to know the name of the university and the attorney general replied it was North South University.
The judge then said there is benefit to being a trustee. At that time, the chief justice said if there is more income, it will translate into perks like this.
Deputy Attorney General Biswajit Debnath said that it is well established in principle, that a trustee cannot take advantage of such benefits.
Bar Association Secretary Barrister Ruhul Quddus Kajal said trustees are not taking cash, but are nevertheless being payed in kins. However, he also said that embarrassed, the trustees returned the cars.
According to a report in the newspaper, almost all NSU trustees are top businessmen of the country. Despite having money, they have come under fire for taking various benefits as trustees, including luxury Range Rover cars and hefty seating?? Don't understand what this word is supposed to mean here. Clarify and publish or delete this word altogether allowances.
The education ministry has recently formed a committee to investigate and take legal action against trustees for various financial and administrative irregularities. All in all, members of the NSU Board of Trustees (BOT) are now under a lot of pressure. The university's Range Rovers given to them are now sitting covered in the NSU parking lot.
According to media reports, NSU authorities bought nine 'Range Rover 2019' model Land Rover cars in 2019 upon the decision of its Board of Trustees. The cost of buying each car was around Tk3 crore. The driver, fuel and maintenance costs of the vehicles were also paid from university funds.
BOT chairman Azim Uddin Ahmed and members Benazir Ahmed, MA Qasim, Rehana Rahman, Mohammad Shahjahan, Fauzia Naz, Yasmeen Kamal, and Tanvir Harun used these luxury cars. Late founding member MA Hashem used such a car too, but the car was returned to the university after his death. After the death of MA Hashem, his son Aziz Al Qaiser (Titu) joined as a BOT member, but he is not taking the benefit of a car.
The rest of the trustees and their family members used these vehicles all the time. However, when discussion and criticism started recently, the cars were sent back to the parking lot of the university, one by one.