HC asks ACC to arrest money launderers

The High Court on Sunday again asked the Anti-Corruption Commission to take action against the corrupt people who have laundered money to foreign countries, including to Begum Para in Canada, instead of harassing businessmen in petty cases.

The online vacation bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice KM Zahid Sarwar also asked the commission to arrest the ‘big people’ who had laundered money abroad including to Begum Para in Canada, Malaysia and the USA.

The bench came up with the observation while commission lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan opposed the pre-arrest bail for Md Khalilullah Azad Milton, a businessman and Dinajpur district unit Juba League leader, in a money laundering case filed with Dinajpur police station.

The HC bench, however, granted Khalil’s anticipatory bail for eight weeks on condition that he would surrender his passport to the lower court and would not go abroad.

Deputy attorney general Amit Talukder told New Age that the government would seek a stay on Khalil’s bail.   

Lawyer Jyotirmoy Barua, who appeared on Khalil›s behalf, told the court that the Criminal Investigation Department filed the case with Dinajpur police station against his client on the charge of laundering Tk 40 crore.

He said that Khalil is facing as many as 17 cases in which he was earlier granted anticipatory bails.

The High Court reminded the commission to take action against the money launders as the neither the government nor the commission   has yet to submit detailed reports on those involved in siphoning money abroad, including to Canada, the USA and Australia.

The bench earlier granted the government and the Anti-Corruption Commission fresh time since December 17, 2020.

November 22, 2020, the High Court in a suo motu ruling directed the government and the Anti-Corruption Commission to submit to it by December 17, 2020  details about the perpetrators, including government officials, politicians, businessmen and others, who siphoned off money abroad, including Malaysia, Singapore, the USA, Canada and Australia.

The court had issued the suo motu ruling after taking cognisance of foreign minister AK Abdul Momen’s November 18, 2020 public statement on the issue, which many newspapers published the following day.

The minister said that he had received information from an unofficial channel that many Bangladeshis bought luxurious residences in a neighbourhood in Canada called Begum Para in Canada for millions of dollars laundered from Bangladesh.

Mainly, as the wives and children of a section of Bangladeshi millionaires live in the neighbourhood’s residences it has been named Begum Para.

It was largely believed that mainly politicians   bought residential properties there.

The court had asked the commission chairman, secretaries of the ministries of home and foreign, Bangladesh Bank governor, Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit chief, National Board of Revenue chairman and deputy commissioner of Dhaka to explain in four weeks why their inaction to prosecute launders that include government officials, politicians, businessmen and bank officials would not be declared illegal.

The High Court set December 17, 2020 for the next hearing on the issue.

On December 17, 2020, the High Court bench was annoyed at the commission’s failure to identify the government officials, politicians, businesspeople and others who were involved in laundering money to Canada.

The court had expressed annoyance, stating ‘The trial of the money launderers might not be held, but we can clearly see the names of money launderers.’

The HC bench made the remark when the commission told the court that it could not share the intelligence unless the financial intelligence unit of Canada permitted the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit in this regard.

The foreign ministry in a report to the court said that the Bangladesh mission in Canada on December 14, 2020 ‘has been instructed on an urgent basis to furnish information on the names and address of the persons who are allegedly involved in money laundering to Canada.’

The Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit said in its report to the court that it had requested the financial intelligence unit of Canada to provide the names and addresses of all Bangladeshi people who might have laundered money from Bangladesh to Canada.

The foreign ministry in its reply told the court that the foreign minister came to know the names and addresses of 28 people, mostly government officials who laundered money to Canada and the ministry later requested the Bangladesh mission in Canada to verify the information.

The attorney general told the court that the government could not submit to the court the lists of money launderers obtained unofficially.

News Courtesy: https://www.newagebd.net/article/150860/hc-asks-acc-to-arrest-money-launderers