Drunken driving, unlicensed gun and Joy
Joy, son of Awami League President Sheikh Hasina, has been arrested for drunken driving on several occasions, was in possession on an unlicensed gun and guilty of a host of other misdeeds
A PROBE report
When Sajib Wazed Joy, son of Awami League President Sheikh Hasina, returned to Bangladesh after many years abroad, the massive reception organized for him at the airport reflected his mother�s wish that he be her successor in politics. But was he cut out for the tough task of a political career? It doesn�t seem so. He seems quite happy with his cushy life in the United States, notwithstanding his several scrapes with the law and other shady tales.
Joy has hardly much childhood association with Bangladesh. His mother lived a life in exile since August 1975, spending a long asylum in India under the patronage of the Indian government. She would live at Basant Bahar, the safe house run by the agencies there.
As a result, Joy had his early education in India where he spent much of his formative years. They may have returned to Bangladesh in 1981, but there was a sense of isolation from normal family life for Joy. This was only to be expected, given his boarding school years, the intense political activities of his mother, all compounded with the estrangement of his parents.
Persons who knew him then say he was a rather reckless youth. Even later, he reportedly met with an accident in Gulshan in the mid-nineties, totaling the Pajero jeep of a businessman of Narayanganj. Rather than keeping him in Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina sent her son to the US for further studies. She perhaps felt that would give him some stability, a sense of responsibility.
Life in the USA didn�t seem to change Joy much. That reckless trait in his character showed itself time and again. Records show several cases were filed against him. He has been charged on various occasions with drunken driving, speeding, reckless driving, unlawful use of radar detection device, and even carrying an unlicensed gun. He even had to spend time in jail for his misdemeanours, not to mention all the fines he had to pay too. If Hasina had political aspirations for him, she couldn�t have chosen a more unsuitable candidate.
As it is, he had a basically apolitical character. He disliked the gathering of poor people at home and expressed a distinct disinterest in politics. He often snubbed persons who, out of affection or simple curiousity, came to meet Sheikh Mujib�s grandson.
He continued his fast life in the US as he had no sense of belonging with Bangladesh, no affinity to his mother�s party and had no intention of living with his dysfunctional family at home. In was no secret that there was no love lost between Sheikh Hasina and husband Wazed Miah.
Clouds over love and marriage
During his mother�s tenure as Bangladesh�s Prime Minister (1996-2001), Joy reportedly got engaged with an old girlfriend from his school days. She was an Indian girl of Sikh religion. Hasina, taking cover of an official visit, went to London to formalize the marriage. Along with the barat of close friends and relations, she even took along cooks of Dhaka�s famous Fakhruddin bawarchi. Her one condition was that the girl convert to Islam. The girl refused. Hasina was more than upset. She reportedly cancelled all programmes on that day. She shut herself up in her hotel room the whole day, refusing to talk to any one. She immediately returned to Dhaka. The marriage reception never took place, and her entourage, cooks and all, returned home without the taste of biriyani in their mouths.
Joy is presently married to American citizen Kristine Ann Overmire a.k.a. Kristine Wazed. They were married in the US on October 26, 2002. Kristine may have been previously married to a certain Richard D Loomis. There were rumours that Joy and Kristine were on the verge of a divorce, but if there had been a separation, things have apparently been patched up, perhaps with the birth of their child.
Informal entry into politics
Joy�s arrival in Dhaka and grand reception by young cadres of the party at the airport, and the several subsequent meetings at Sudha Sadan, heralded his informal entry into politics. It is not clear how serious he actually was about politics. He may have just been out to impress his newly-wed American bride. Or he may have just been pacifying his mother who had big plans for her prodigal son.
It was clear that Sheikh Hasina wanted him to be her successor, but Sheikh Rehana had her reservations in this regard. This fact was brought home further by an article in the magazine Bichitra, owned by Hasina�s sister Sheikh Rehana. The article was vehemently opposed to the idea of Joy�s entrance into politics.
The matter of Joy�s political induction was made clear again by the visiting card he had printed. His designation was shown as Advisor to the Prime Minister. He would use the card in his meetings and dealings in the US.
Interestingly, after the grenade attack on August 21, 2004, Joy�s statement was published in the official Awami League website with special prominence. The website normally only carried news, analyses and statements of Sheikh Hasina. At times it would have statements of senior party leaders like Abdul Jalil or Zillur Rahman at the most. But then suddenly it began posting Joy�s statements prominently.
Power breeds money
When Awami League came to power and his mother became ruler of the country, Joy got involved in business. There was the Texas-based Infolink International (from November 1998 to March 2001) and Nova BD International, LLC (May 1998 to August 2000). He had links with the SEAMEWE-4 undersea cable project through Nova BD International. He was also involved with Tyco Communications (USA) along with a certain Mahboob Rahman.
He also founded two other companies, Wazed Consulting and Sim Global Services in March 2005. This was after Awami League was out of power. Interestingly, the annual sales of these two companies were only 61,000 dollars and 35,000 dollars respectively. Yet Joy, in his own name, bought a brand new house at 3817 Bell Manor Court, Falls Church, Virginia, on May 12, 2006, worth about one million dollars. His wife is not a co-owner of the house. He used a fixed-rate mortgage and paid only about 200 thousand dollars (20 percent of the value) in cash. This was a clever move as it hid the real value of the property in terms of cash.
Earlier, together with his wife, he brought another property at 4823 Martin Street, Alexandria, VA 22312. The property is worth 749,000 dollars.
Business, not as usual
Like Joy, his brother-in-law Khandkar M Hossain, husband of sister Saima Wazed Hossain (Putul), started a few businesses in the US when his mother-in-law Sheikh Hasina came to power, but dissolved them after a couple of years. These businesses included Bangladesh Metals and Pipes Trading Corporation; Shonali Inc; Doug�s Wholesale Inc; Afsana Inc; and Jampy Corporation.
Apparently business was not quite the cup of tea for either of them. However, despite none of the businesses seeming to make any money and most of them being shut down before long, no one has ever heard of them suffering from financial difficulties. Perhaps mother�s affection helped them in this regard.
A reluctant successor
It was more than apparent to senior and mid-level leaders of Awami League in the mid-nineties that Sheikh Hasina to all intentions and purposes was intent on grooming Joy as he successor. Sheikh Rehana, Sheikh Selim and other in the family were no comfortable with this.
The Awami League leaders were noting with alarm that the post-2001 scene witnesses a gradual infiltration of newcomers into the membership of Hasina�s kitchen cabinet. Kazi Zafrullah, Saber Hossain Chowdhury, Abul Hossain, Salman F Rahman and a number of former bureaucrats were gradually entering the hallowed circle of Hasina�s favoured ones, pushing the old-timer �uncles� out of the way. Only Abdul Jalil and Zillur Rahman, together with half-baked politicians like Obaidul Kader, were allowed to come into prominence. Thanks to the pro-Awami League media who were friendly with the �uncles�, the seniors managed to maintain some semblance of political visibility.
Sheikh Hasina is going through critical times. In all likelihood she will have to relinquish her leadership of Awami League. At this juncture, given South Asian political trends, it would have only been natural for Joy to step into his mother�s shoes. Now, however, that does not seem likely. His background and records hardly present him as leadership material, particularly when reforms are the call of the day. The party leaders will not accept him. After all, his propensity for joy rides seems to outweigh his penchant for politics.
Arrests and criminal charges
Criminal court clerk records identify the following criminal charges and arrests of Sajib Wazed Joy:
On June 14 1998, Joy was arrested in Tarrant County, Texas. He was charged on two counts of carrying an unlicensed handgun and one count of driving while intoxicated. He was convicted for drunken driving and was imprisoned for 120 days, sentenced to 24 months of probation and fined $500.
On February 6, 2000, Joy was charged with reckless driving and having a radar detector in Hanover County, Virginia. He was fined and incarcerated for one day.
On March 19, 2000, he was arrested and charged with reckless driving in Fairfax County, Virginia. He was found guilty and given a suspended 30-day jail sentence and 12 months probation along with a $400 fine.
On April 29, 2001, Joy was charged with speeding in Rappahannock County, Virginia.
On May 20, 2004, Joy was charged with speeding in Arlington County, Virginia.
Saima Wazed Hossain (Putul), Sheikh Hasina�s daughter and Joy�s younger sister, along with husband Khandakar Mahbub Hossain, own considerable property in the US. The houses they purchased there include:
456 North Bay Point Way, Jacksonville, Florida. This is a single family residence purchased by Saima and husband Hossain on November 1, 2005 for $245,000 from Merrill and Priscilla King.
845 York Way, Maitland, Florida. This is also a single family residence purchased by Saima and Hossain on October 16, 2004, for $311,000 from David and Elizabeth Cocchiarella. The property has an assessed value of $208,844.
2065 W 119th Avenue, Miramar, Florida. This single family residence was purchased by Saima and Hossain on October 28, 1998 for $154,300 from Pulte Home Corporation. On March 15, 2005, a non-purchase money loan of $197,000, was obtained from SunTrust Bank secured with this property. The property has an assessed value of $265,440.