Recovering siphoned off money
The worries of the chairman of the Anti-Corruption Commission are also ours. If indeed bureaucratic tangles have come in the way of a recovery of money siphoned off abroad by corrupt elements in Bangladesh, then the crusade against corruption remains incomplete. Hasan Mashhud Chowdhury informs us that owing to an absence of official arrangements with other countries vis-à-vis investigating corruption, it has not been possible so far for the money stashed away to be brought back to Bangladesh. Besides, an inadequacy of authentic information regarding the money smuggled out abroad has also impeded a prosecution of those responsible for such unlawful conduct.
Now, the clear position is that countries are willing to assist Bangladesh in spotting and recovering the siphoned off money provided the mechanism for an inquiry into the whole process is in place. And, of course, an important aspect of such a mechanism consists in Bangladesh going for such arrangements as will help the law enforcing agencies of these and other countries in identifying the smuggled out money and the banks or other places where they have been stashed away. Scotland Yard, which has unofficially been assisting the ACC in its drive to get back ill-gotten wealth, would certainly be able to make a more substantial contribution here if its work were based on concrete information provided by the Bangladesh authorities. Which is when the need arises for authentic information to be gathered by Dhaka on precisely what has happened to the siphoned off money.
We have so long heard of efforts being made towards recovering such money through the cooperation of foreign governments, especially through a working out of official arrangements. Unfortunately, the results yielded so far have not been satisfactory at all and at this point, one might well suggest that huge chunks of the money smuggled out by corrupt elements still remain unspotted and so untouched. What now must be done is for the Bangladesh government to recover such money on the basis of internationally accepted practices. For such a job to be done, it is imperative that the civil administration at home and Bangladesh's missions abroad be put to maximum use. Their job, at the end of the day, is to put in place a foolproof mechanism for bringing back home all the money that has been looted, that belongs to the public here. It must be remembered that the success of the drive against corruption depends on how soon we can get back the resources that men of sinister motives have looted during their days in power and in influence-peddling.