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ACC yet to list Bangladeshis who make houses in Canada with ill-gotten money

FE REPORT | Thursday, 27 January 2022


Despite repeated requests to a ministry, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has not yet got the list of people having buildings in Begum Para of Canada, said ACC Chairman Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah on Wednesday.

Mentioning that the commission does not have the mechanism to collect information of people building houses in Begum Para, he said: "The person who talked about giving the list did not provide it despite repeated queries."

"If we don't get the list, how would we proceed?" he told reporters on the premises of ACC headquarters in the city's Segunbagicha.

He said these in reply to a question about ACC's initiatives to inquire into the allegations of siphoning off money to Canada by some Bangladeshi nationals.

On November 18, 2020, Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr AK Abdul Momen at a programme held at the Dhaka Reporters' Unity (DRU) said he was surprised to see the number of government officials who siphoned off money to Toronto in Canada, outnumbering politicians.

Referring to 28 such cases that require further verification, he said, "Many government officials have houses in Toronto and their children are studying there."

The ACC chairman said very often, while investigating money laundering issues, different countries, no matter how developed they are, don't provide information to Bangladesh easily.

"They usually say that information would be provided if a case is filed," he said, raising a question: "How would we file a case if we don't have any information."

He also said if the commission gets the information related to Begum Para, it will launch investigation right away.

Responding to another question about Bangladesh's performance in the latest Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2021, Mr Abdullah said it is a report by Berlin-based Transparency International that prepares the score based on different indices from eight other organisations.

"The commission has no reaction in this regard, we are not opposing it or supporting it," he said.

"If there is any recommendation for us in the report, we will scrutinise it," he said.

Talking about ACC's preventive measures against corruption, he said due to the pandemic situation for the past two years, graft prevention activities have become a bit static.

"We have already sent a set of recommendations to 22 ministries and departments identifying the areas of corruption but the commission doesn't have the executive authority to see whether the recommendations are implemented," ACC chairman said.

Bangladesh has improved its position by one notch in the CPI-2021-- from 148th to 147th - out of 180 countries.

However, Bangladesh's score remained unchanged for the fourth consecutive year, according to the index unveiled virtually in the country by Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) on Tuesday.

Bangladesh scored 26 out of 100 in the CPI-2021 to become the second worst performer among the South Asian countries only next to Afghanistan.

The score of Bangladesh at 26 is a figure much lower than the global average of 43 while Madagascar and Mozambique share the same score and the same position in the index.

Counting from the top, Bangladesh ranked 147th, one position lower than in 2020, and from the bottom, it stood 13th, one position higher than in 2020.

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