Rise in money laundering cases
There has been more than 25 percent increase in money laundering cases lodged with the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) year-on-year in 2014. Accordingly, ACC conducted 226 inquiries last year, compared with 180 in 2013 but steeply up from 39 in 2012. The anti-graft body's chairman M Badiuzzaman links the spate of inquiries to what he claims as efforts by the ACC in dealing with money laundering cases. While welcoming the ACC's hands-on approach in taking up cases and proceeding on them we do not see any commensurate results from their efforts. In recovering the siphoned off money no headway could be made.
Illicit outflows amounting to 1.1 percent of its GDP, 12.7 percent of its tax revenue and $1.31 billion a year between 2003 and 2012 are a stupendous draining of resources from a developing country like Bangladesh which it can ill-afford.
Our anti-money laundering laws are strict on paper but not in application. Where actual capital flight has taken place attempts of recovery predictably hit snag at two levels. On the one hand, coordination is chronically lacking between the domestic agencies concerned, and on the other there is a serious deficit of cooperation from external quarters. Apparently, there is no answer against misinvoicing of exports and imports.
The ACC, via the attorney general's office, had sent 34 mutual legal assistance requests (MLARs) to different countries but feedback on even half of the MLARs has not been received. Energetic efforts should be made through different channels to secure cooperation in this vital area.