Bringing back siphoned off money impeded | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 04, 2007 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 04, 2007

Bringing back siphoned off money impeded

ACC chief blames it on red tape

The effort to bring back money that had been smuggled out of the country has hit a snag due to bureaucratic tangles, said Maj Gen (retd) Hasan Mashhud Chowdhury, chairman of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
At a routine press briefing held yesterday in the ACC office in the capital, he also said, "There is no competent authority to handle the issue."
Even though the Scotland Yard has been assisting the ACC with some unofficial information on money smuggled abroad, the ACC is unable to take any legal action as Bangladesh lacks official arrangements with the countries concerned in this regard, Mashhud said. "We need information from authentic sources to bring the guilty to book."
The ACC chief informed the reporters of launching a mass awareness campaign against corruption on December 9. The ACC, in association with Transparency International, Bangladesh, would run the campaign for a year.
From mid-January, the ACC would start forming citizens' anti-corruption committees in district levels, he added.
Speaking on the submission of charge sheet in the Gatco case against former prime minister Khaleda Zia, he said the investigation report had been submitted to the ACC and it was being re-examined. Besides, "names of a few other people are also coming up in the case. The matter is under close consideration."
Asked if the government has discussed the proposed Truth Commission issue with the ACC, Mashhud replied in the negative. The ACC is not overenthusiastic about it because first there has to be a legal framework for it and it has to be acceptable to the people also, he said.
Commenting on some of the ACC cases being stayed by higher courts, Mashhud, also former adviser to a caretaker government, said the commission is carefully monitoring the situation and looking into the reasons why the cases had been stayed. "We are re-examining the special cases so that there are no flaws in those," he said.
Responding to a query whether the ACC is able to operate independently, the corruption watchdog boss said, "I wouldn't be here otherwise."

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