ACC seeks info from Singapore about Bangladeshi gamblers

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has sent a letter to the Singapore authorities seeking information about gambling crimes and other activities by the people of Bangladesh in last five years. The national anti-graft agency wrote to its Singapore equivalent – the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) – seeking its assistance on that score, said ACC Director General (Money Laundering) Abdun Nur Muhammad Al Firoz.

The graft busters informed the CPIB that it has opened an investigation against individuals who have illegally acquired wealth and laundered money abroad at various times, keeping in line with the government's 'zero tolerance' policy on the matter. Highlighting the information derived from probes against money launderers, the ACC said a few corrupt Bangladeshis have transferred their dirty money to Singapore and other countries around the world.

"They have given confessional statements about laundering a huge amount of money to Singapore and gambling it away in casinos there." Noting that Singaporean casinos require foreigners to submit their passports before entry, the ACC requested a full list of Bangladeshis who attended gambling facilities in Marina Bay and other places in the South-East Asian country over the last five years for the purpose of its investigation.

The ACC emphasised that as signatories to the UN Convention Against Corruption, Singapore and Bangladesh can cooperate closely with one another to fight corruption. The government recently launched a crackdown on corruption and other misdeeds which brought a number of Jubo League and mid-level Awami League leaders to the fore for their involvement in the illegal casino business.

The ACC subsequently began looking into the wealth accumulated by those arrested in the drive. In keeping with the initiative, it imposed overseas travel bans on 34 individuals, including three lawmakers, until Thursday. The anti-graft watchdog also initiated cases against 11 people, including expelled Jubo League leader Khaled Mahmud Bhuiyan and controversial contractor GK Shamim, over corruption and 'illegal wealth'. A five-strong panel headed by ACC Director Syed Iqbal Hossain has also opened a probe against 60 people for corruption.