Trial of 44 out of 573 completed so far
Forty-four out of 573 cases filed against high-profile corrupt suspects and their relatives have been disposed of during the present caretaker government's nine-month tenure.
Chairman of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) on serious crimes Maj Gen (retd) MA Matin hoped to complete trial of rest of the cases before the government hands over power to an elected government.
"Primarily, it took time to deal with the cases due to shortage of skilled manpower for investigations. Army personnel who are helping us were also not that efficient," Matin told reporters during a briefing at the communications ministry yesterday.
"Performance in the coming months will be better as our men are now more experienced and competent," Matin, also the communications adviser, said.
The Anti-Corruption Commission, National Board of Revenue and police filed 372 cases while others lodged 201 cases against the corrupt suspects whose names were published in five phases.
A total of 131 cases are now under trial while investigations are in progress in 285 other cases, the NCC chief said. Inquiry is on in 88 cases while preliminary inquiry is being done in 25 other cases.
Names of 50 corrupt suspects came in the first list, 51 in the second, 39 in the third, 35 in the first part of fourth list and two in a special list.
About 100 big shots have so far been apprehended during crackdown on corrupt politicians, ministers and businessmen.
High-profile people who have been awarded punishments in 44 cases include former ministers Nazmul Huda, Mohammad Nasim, Shahjahan Siraj, Amanullah Aman, Anwar Hossain Monju and Iqbal Hasan Mahmud, ex-lawmakers Naser Rahman, Ali Asgar Lobi, and Nadim Mostafa, Rajshahi Mayor Mizanur Rahman Minu, political secretary to former prime minister Khaleda Zia Harris Chowdhury and businessman Giasuddin Al Mamun.
Investigations into corruption charges are on against former premiers Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina, now staying in sub-jails in the capital.
Matin said 60 to 62 task forces are currently working across the country. The number of task forces needs to be increased, he felt.
Capacity of the ACC and NCC workforces should also be enhanced to speed up the pace of investigation and trial, Matin added.
He said "If we cannot finish trials of all the cases, the elected government will carry it on."
When asked, the NCC chief failed to say whether cases filed against corrupt suspects aspiring to contest the city corporation elections likely to be held in January can be completed before the polls.
Whether the government will allow people on corrupt suspects' list to take part in the city corporation elections, Matin said, "It's a policy decision. I don't know what the government will decide."
Regarding publication of 35 corrupt suspects in the fourth list though the newspapers earlier published 80 names which Matin said was 'almost correct', the NCC chief said, "This was part one of the list which was published on the basis of merit of the allegations."
Asked when the second part may come out, he said "We can't say it at the moment. We're much more concerned about disposing of the allegations we have in our hands at the moment."
Matin replied in the negative when he was asked whether there would be any change in the list of 80.
Asked to comment on presence of task force members at different service providing institutions like Rajuk, DCC and National Housing Authority Bhaban, he said, "The task force members are doing whatever they need to do for the sake of inquiry and investigation."