Air Marshal (retd) Jamal Uddin Ahmed is about to be shown the door as
Biman Bangladesh Airlines is likely to reconstitute its board with a
Jamal had been in the Biman cockpit despite speculations over the
last seven years that he would be removed soon. Biman had been in the
reds in six of the seven years he was at the helm.
“We will send a proposal to the Prime Minister Office in a couple of
days for the prime minister's approval. After the approval, we will
issue gazette notifications,” Civil Aviation Minister Rashed Khan Menon
told The Daily Star last night.
Highly placed sources in the ministry said the ministry would propose
the name of the last Air Force chief, Air Marshal (retd) Muhammad
Enamul Bari, as the new chairman.
Former FBCCI president Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed, barrister Tanjib-ul
Alam, and BGMEA president Siddiqur Rahman would be proposed as members
of the Biman board.
Senior secretary to the Prime Minister's Office, secretary to the
finance ministry, civil aviation and tourism ministry, deputy chief of
staff of Bangladesh Air Force, Engineer in Chief of the Army, chairman
of Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh, the managing director and
chairman of Biman Bangladesh Airlines would be in the board ex-officio.
The prime minister had appointed Jamal the Biman chairman for one year in 2009.
A Biman official said Jamal was re-elected chairman by the board
members at the annual general meetings every year until the last two
years. In the last two years the elections could not be held as there
was no director from the shareholders due to non-release of shares to
“For the last two years, Biman chairman has been appointed by the PMO following a proposal from the ministry,” said an official.
Sources in Biman and civil aviation ministry said Biman's Annual
General Meeting was to be held by December 31 last year but Biman could
not hold it. This irked government high-ups.
The situation took went worse for Jamal Uddin as some key decisions
were pending with the board, like appointment of manpower in ground
handling and purchasing of equipment. The board could not approve the
decisions since its tenure had expired at the end last year.
Jamal's chances of becoming the board chairman again significantly
dropped after March 8, when the UK banned direct cargo flight to London
form Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on security grounds.
Chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh Air-vice
Marshal M Sanaul Hoque and Civil Aviation Secretary Khorshed Alam
Chowdhury were removed from their posts after the ban.
In January 2015, the civil aviation and tourism ministry reinstated
Jamal as the chairman, ending speculation that he was on the way out.
Speculation of his removal gained ground following the arrests of
three top Biman officials and two others, including Jamal's “godson”, in
connection with gold smuggling through the airport in November last
Jamal faced severe criticism from the civil aviation minister after
detectives captured them. But he denied having any relation with the
so-called god son.
In parliament, Jatiya Party MP Kazi Feroz Rashid demanded that the
government arrests the Biman chairman. He demanded that Jamal Uddin be
summoned before the parliamentary standing committee on civil aviation
Jamal Uddin who is was one of the co-accused in the MiG-29 warplane
purchase case with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, developed a rift with
former Minister GM Quader.
The former minister on several occasions had said the Biman's board
did not accept the opinion of the ministry. He had also said Biman
should be accountable to the ministry and that the ministry needs
authority to oversee the much-needed reforms in Biman.
The Biman chairman hit back Quader at a press conference later.
Quader was later transferred to the commerce ministry.
Biman's first foreign managing director Kevin John Steele had earlier
told The Daily Star of Biman board's interference. “The Biman Board
sometimes interfered even in minor issues,” he had said before quitting