Husband of murdered woman tries to get life insurance

Abdur Rahim Miah is trying to claim the life insurance for his murdered wife Afroza Miah.
LAWRENCE SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ

Abdur Rahim Miah is trying to claim the life insurance for his murdered wife Afroza Miah.

The husband of a murdered woman is making another bid to collect on her $2 million life insurance policy.

Abdur Rahim Miah​ and his wife, Afroza Miah, took out the insurance policy 11 months before she was killed in Bangladesh in May, 2007.

While his wife went to Bangladesh, Abdur Miah had stayed in Auckland with the couple's two sons, his lawyer Rod Hooker said in the Court of Appeal on Thursday.

Afroza Akter Miah was murdered in May 2007 and her body was dumped in a barrel in Bangladesh.
SUPPLIED

Afroza Akter Miah was murdered in May 2007 and her body was dumped in a barrel in Bangladesh.

One of the judges tried to clarify details about blame for the murder of Afroza Miah, 36.

READ MORE: $2m insurance payout fails after wife's murder

Hooker said he could not recall, "off the top of his head", who was convicted.

The insurance company's lawyer, John Knight, said he only knew what was contained in a High Court judgment, that Abdur Miah's brother was convicted.

Hooker said he thought Abdur Miah was charged in his absence and acquitted.

It has previously been reported that Miah's brother Bellal Hussain admitted hiring a hitman to carry out the killing, first drugging Afroza Miah and then having the hitman strangle her.

The brother was convicted and sentenced to 14 years' jail, but after six months he paid to get temporary release, and absconded. The hitman was also released, it was reported.

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The Miahs had married in Bangladesh in 1992 and moved to Auckland the following year. The couple owned property and cleaning businesses.

The murder came just weeks after Abdur Miah was made bankrupt, owing about $900,000.

When he was made bankrupt the right to claim the life insurance money passed to the Official Assignee who was overseeing the bankruptcy.

However, when the Official Assignee tried to claim the insurance money the insurance company, AXA, refused to pay. It said it had agreed to the policy after being given materially wrong information about the Miahs' financial positions and occupations.

The Official Assignee's investigations concluded AXA had strong grounds for refusing payment, and it did not challenge the decision.

When Abdur Miah's bankruptcy ended he tried to get the Official Assignee to return to him the rights under the insurance policy but that was refused.

The Official Assignee was concerned a substantial costs order could be made against him if Miah's claim was unsuccessful. Miah could not agree with the Official Assignee a basis that would have protected against a likely costs order.

Miah also argued in court that, as he and his wife had jointly owned the policy, he inherited her interest when she died so he could collect her half.

In two cases in the High Court Miah failed to get closer to collecting the insurance money.

At the latest hearing, in the Court of Appeal, Hooker argued again that half the money would have been Afroza Miah's and it should pass to her estate.

For AXA, Knight said there was nothing in the wording of the policy that countered the usual position that the claim to a life insurance policy for two people in a close relationship passed to the survivor.

Any right to claim passed to the Official Assignee when Miah was made bankrupt, Knight said.

The three Court of Appeal judges reserved their decision.

 - Stuff

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