ACC sets dragnet for corrupt ‘big fish’

The Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) has started probes against more than a dozen senior leaders of Jubo League, and Omar Faruk Chowdhury, who was ousted from chairman post of Jubo League. Bank account transactions of Faruk’s wife, three sons and two business establishments have been suspended. ACC filed cases against GK Shamim and Khaled as well as his wife. At the same time, the ACC is surreptitiously collecting information on illegal resources and money laundering.

Bank transactions of family members of six Jubo League leaders, including Sheikh Maruf, Molla Kausar, have been suspended. An ACC team is preparing trips to 5 countries to collect their data on assets smuggled there. Meanwhile, the ACC has also filed a case against two arrested Jubo League leaders. Many have been given letters seeking information on wealth. Bank account transactions have been suspended for the families of seven leaders of Jubo League and their businesses.

Most of them have been owners of illegal wealth through casinos, possession and tender corruption, terrorism and extortion. Reportedly, the ACC's primary updated number of names has increased from 43 to 61. Earlier, the ACC secretary said, 43 people were on their primary list. The list includes political party leaders, members of social organizations, businessmen, and past and present government officials. The ACC has launched a formal inquiry against them, investigating in different directions. As part of this, information about the financial assets of those concerned is being collected through letters to various government offices including National Board of Revenue (NBR) Land Office, Sub registry Office, and Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB).

The ACC has also finalized preparations to file lawsuits against at least a dozen of them. On Monday, the NBR suspended the bank account transactions of Secchashebak League President, Molla Abu Kausar, his wife Parveen Luna, daughter Nuzhat Nadia Nila and their business establishments, KM Masudur Rahman, his wife Lutfur Nahar Luna, father Abul Khair Khan, mother Razia Khan and office secretary of Jubo League. Anisur Rahman, his wife Sumi Rahman and their business firm, Councilor Habibur Rahman Mizan in La Mizan, Tarekuzzaman Rajiv and their family members.

According to reports, the ACC filed cases against arrested GK Shamim, his wife Ayesha Akhter and Jubo League leader Khaled Mahmud Bhuiyan on Monday, 10 days after the investigation had begun. In the case, GK Shamim and his wife have been charged with tax evasion and illicit assets worth Tk 197 crore 8 lakh 99 thousand.

Deputy Director, Jahangir Alam, and Md. Salahuddin filed the case with the ACC's Dhaka district office. ACC officials later appealed to the court to show GK Shamim and Khalid arrested in the case. The two accused are now in jail after being arrested by the RAB. More than a dozen other leaders involved in casino scandal, possession and tender corruption are getting ready for illegal wealth acquisition.

On the other hand, Ismail Hossain Chowdhury Samrat, the expelled leader of the Jubo League, is in ACC’s search for illegal wealth. An ACC official said, "after initial inquiry, It could be ludicrous if a case is filed against him for illegal money. The officer believes that he has smuggled almost all of his wealth into various countries, including casino business, tender control, extortion."

Meanwhile, a preliminary inquiry has been launched against five officers who worked for GK Shamim on behalf of the Commission on various contractor works of the Public Works Department. Among them, ACC has given notice to the former chief engineer Rafiqul Islam and his wife Rasheda Islam, additional chief engineer Abdul Hai and his wife Banani Sultana.

The letter was sent on Monday under the signature of ACC Director Syed Iqbal Hossain, asking to submit statement of assets within the next 21 business days. Their accounts have been summoned. After receiving the details, the remaining information will be collected from other media. The ACC also has information that they have smuggled money out of the country.

ACC prosecuted GK Shamim, including his wife, for committing a crime punishable by acquiring and possessing assets worth Tk 297 crore 8 lakh 99 thousand, incompatible with his known sources illegally. Khaled Bhuiyan, on the other hand, was accused of possessing illegal assets worth Tk 588.55 lakh 859. The ACC first initiated the two cases after investigations into the casino scandal had begun.

In the case of GK Shamim, it is said that he acquired immovable assets worth Tk 50 crore till 2018-19. Of this 40 crore, information of immovable property Taka 21 lakh 40 thousand is in income tax documents. The remaining 9 crore 78 lakh 59 thousand in assets has not been documented. No valid source of his 50 million fixed assets was found. In the same year, his wife reported assets worth Tk 386.66 lakh.

In addition to the arrest, from GK Shamim's office, Tk 81.88 lakh 28 thousand, and US $ 9,000 was seized. The ACC could not find any valid source of his 165 crore 27 lakh 65 thousand taka FDR. On the other hand, in the name of Khaled, the fixed assets worth Tk 1 crore 66 lakh 10 thousand 800 are shown. But the ACC will know that there are more resources in reviewing the surroundings and records.

He did not show assets worth 2 crore 83 lakh in his income tax documents. Apart from this, no valid source of his fixed assets of Tk 4 crore 50 lakh was found. In all, the preliminary inquiries match the data of his illegal assets worth Rs.58.58 lakh. GK Shamim and Khaled were sued at the inquiry stage. Similarly, a case has been filed against dozens of other leaders of the Jubo League and Awami League.

Especially for those who have been arrested, the case is being prepared against almost everyone. However, notices are being issued asking for account of assets of the government officials against whom the search has begun. In this regard ACC Chairman Iqbal Mahmud told Jugantar on Monday, "We can file a case directly if we get the document."

If 'Cognizable Offense' comes to our attention, if we believe these to be offenses (crime-corruption) we can sue directly. There have been some preliminary inquiries into the two cases that took place on Monday. "We get a lot of information from the media," he said. On September 18, Khaled was arrested from his Gulshan residence on the first day of the raid at Clubpara in Dhaka. GK Shamim was arrested on September 20 from his business firm in Niketan in Gulshan. Multiple cases were filed against the two.