Special Correspondent: The British-based niece of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is standing as an MP in Britain’s General Election in May.
Tulip 33, is standing as a candidate for the main opposition Labour Party in a seat in the capital London called Hampstead and Kilburn. The seat is one of Britain most marginal seats, as its current Labour MP, former actress Glenda Jackson, won the seat in 2010 with a majority of only 42 votes. Tulip is likely to win the seat as Labour appears to be ahead in the polls in the constituency.
However, questions are already being raised about Tulip family background, and her apparent attempt to hide her links to her aunt, Sheik Hasina.
A British national newspaper has reported that in 2012, Tulip was photograph with President Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow, along with Sheikh Hasina, her mother Sheikh Rehana and her younger sister Azmina, 24.
Sajeeb Wazed Joy, Sheikh Hasina’s son was also in the photograph. During that visit, Sheikh Hasina signed a controversial $1 billion arms deal with Russia.
Tulip has been accused of trying to cover her links to Sheikh Hasina and to Putin on her blog. Her opponents have pointed out that she has also tried to delete photographs from her
blog which showed her campaigning on Sheikh Hasina’s behalf in Bangladesh. However, Tulip has denied that she has ever tried to cover up her background, in newspaper interviews afterwards.
But question are now being asked as to how Tulip and her family have managed to acquire properties in London which have a current market value of around £5m, despite having relatively meagre incomes in UK.
Tulip’s mother, Sheikh Rehana, 58, now lives in a grand house in the Golders Green area of north London. Electoral roll records show that Tulip and Azmina also lived at the address at same time.
Land registry records on the property show that it was bought for £1.2m in February 2011, just over a year after the Awami league won the election in Bangladesh.
The house is owned by a company called Ladybird Properties Limited, which is registered in the tax-haven of Isle of Man, an island of the North-West coast of mainland Britain.
The property has a mortgage with Barclays bank, and Ladybird properties appear to be a front company. Although documents relating to Ladybird properties do not show Sheikh Rehana or anyone else in her family to be owners, however, a number of Bengali community sources in London have said that they are the actual owners of the house.
The current market value of the house in Golders green is estimated to be around £2m.
Land registry searches have also show that Tulip bought a flat in the Russell Square area of Central London in 2004. There is no outstanding mortgage for the property, which suggest that she bought the flat for cash.
The current market value of the flat in Russell Square stands over £1m-£2m. However, questions have been raised as to how Tulip managed to buy a property in Russell Square in cash at the age of 22, when she would have just finished her degree at university.
She had completed a degree in English Literature from University College London; at age of 21, and her jobs since appear to be stints at organizations like Amnesty International. Such jobs would never have given her a salary that would enable her to buy a property in Russell Square, especially in cash.
Land Registry records show that Azmina also bought a flat under her name in West Hampsetad, North London, in 2009, whilst a student of English literature at Oxford University. Azmina graduated in 2011.
Again, the flat does not have a mortgage which suggests that it was bought in cash. The current market value of such a flat would be around £1m.
The fact that Azmina managed to buy a property in cash whilst a student with no income raises the question as to where the money came from.
The obvious answer would be that her family provided Azmina with the money to buy the flat in 2009. The same could be said about how Tulip bought her flat in 2004.
But the problem is that the Sheikh Rehana family have had no reliable sources of income in the UK which could have enabled them to buy properties of this value.
Sheikh Rehana is believed to have been a housewife all her life in Britain, and therefore with no income. Her husband, Shafiq Ahmed Siddiq, 65, suffered a major stroke
in the 1990’s and has not been able to work since. Tulip herself spoke of her father’s paralysing stroke in a recent interview with the independent newspaper.
Tulip has had jobs which pay modest salaries. As well as working for Amnesty International, she worked for the Labour party as a press officer and even had a stint in a PR firm.
Her most steady income has been as a Labour councillor in Camden Council in North London, which would pay just around £12,000 per year.
Similarly, Azmina also does not have a salary that could justify the family having a multi-million-pound portfolio. She currently works as an editor in a publishing company.
Their brother Radwan, 35, who is also known as Bobby, also did not have a remarkable income when he was back in the UK. He edited an obscure magazine called Alliance.
This suggests the money to buy these properties may have come from abroad. Tulip needs to an-swer how she managed to buy the flat under her name in 2004, for the sake of transparency. The history of Sheikh Rehana’s family in the UK has been chequered and contradictory. Although now the family appears to be prosperous and well-to-do, in the past, it appears to have been strug-gling. Sheikh Rehana arrived in Britain sometime before 1977 on asylum. It appears that she may have been a student when she first arrived in the UK.
In October 1977, Sheikh Rehana married her husband, Shafiq Ahmed Siddiq, at Brent Registry office in North London.
The couple’s marriage certificate shows that Sheikh Rehana was a student living in North London, whilst Mr Siddiq was also a student living at the time in Southampton, a coastal city in the south of England.
By 1980, the couple moved to Sutton, an outer suburb to the south of London, where they had their first child, Radwan, and then Tulip. Azmina may have been born outside the UK as no birth certificate exists for her in Britain.
Rumours abound in the community that the Rehana family were living in a council house in North London throughout the 1980s, when the BNP and then Ershad were in power. Until about 2005, the Rehana family were living in what appears to be a rented flat in Hampstead, North London. Land Registry search of the flat showed that a British company owned the property from the 1960s.
But in 2004, Tulip becomes the first in the family to buy a property. Tulip’s current address is a mystery, but she told the Independent that she lives with her new husband, Christain Percy, in West Hampstead.
A similar story was published in the British newspaper Daily Mail on 12 April 2015 which created mixed reactions among the Labour Party policymakers on political integrity of Ms.Tulip’s candidacy prompting a reaction from the Labour Party spokesperson saying, Tulip is proud of her background and has always been very open about it.
As for the photograph, the spokesman said: Tulip was totally separate from any official delegation but was invited to an event with her family.