ACC cannot freeze, attach property: HC
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has no authority to freeze, attach or impose any restrictions on anybody's property without permission from the court, the High Court has observed in a verdict.
"The Anti-Corruption Commission Rules, 2007, does not give any power to an enquiry or investigating officer or any other officer of the ACC for freezing or attachment of a 'crime acquired property' or otherwise imposing any restriction to enjoy the same at his whim," the court said in the full text of a verdict released on Wednesday.
On June 27, the bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman delivered a short verdict declaring illegal the order of an ACC investigation officer to freeze the bank account of Belayet Hossain, who owns a pharmacy in Cox's Bazar.
It added that a senior special judge's court or a special judge's court has some jurisdiction.
Assistant Director of ACC's Chattogram-2 Integrated Office Md Sharif Uddin on January 6 directed the manager of Cox's Bazar branch of Social Islami Bank Ltd to freeze the bank account of Belayet.
Belayet filed a writ the HC challenging the legality of the directive.
In the full text of the verdict, the HC said number 18 of the ACC rules of 2007 clearly laid down a procedure for freezing or attachment of a property allegedly illegally acquired by a suspect.
"Before freezing or attachment of any property the commission, prima-facie has to be satisfied first that the alleged property has been acquired by illegal means and then, the commission should have authorized its officer to apply before the senior special judge or the trial Judge, as the case may be, before freezing or attachment of such property.
"And thereafter, the authorised officer, should have filed an application before the court concerned stating the reasons for attachment or freezing of the property, as the case may be, with sufficient materials.
"Finally, the court concerned may pass an order of attachment or freezing the property after being prima-facie satisfied that said property has been acquired by the parson concerned by illegal means," the HC judges observed.