BASIC bank loan scams: High Court disappointed with ACC’s delay in completing investigation

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The High Court today expressed its dissatisfaction and disappointment with the Anti-Corruption Commission for the long delay in completing investigations into the BASIC bank loan fraud cases.

“More than five years have passed, but the Anti-Corruption Commission has yet to submit indictments (to the lower court) in the BASIC bank loan fraud cases. Will the investigation continue indefinitely? said the HC magistracy of Judge M Enayetur Rahim and Judge Md Mostafizur Rahman.

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The judiciary made this observation and posed the question during the hearing of a bail application from Mohammad Ali, former managing director of the Shantinagar branch of BASIC Bank, in a case filed by ACC.

The ACC filed a complaint with the Paltan police station in Dhaka on September 23, 2015 against Mohammad Ali and a few others accused of embezzling Tk 50 crore from the bank.

The HC judiciary has granted bail to Mohammad Ali who was arrested in the case on December 12, 2018, ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan told the Daily Star.

He said Mohammad Ali could not be released from prison because he had been arrested in 12 other cases involving around Tk 300 crore.

During today’s hearing, ACC attorney Khurshid told the HC that the ACC has so far examined 2,600 witnesses in 56 filed cases relating to the scams. BASIC bank and recovered 3,100 Tk crore of the stolen money.

The ACC maintained the policy of “following the money” in accordance with the advice of the Asia Pacific Group, a regional anti-money laundering body from 41 countries, including Bangladesh, in order to recover the embezzled money.

The court said the “money tracking policy” was contrary to reality in this case.

Khurshid Alam Khan said the ACC has collected around Tk 20,000 crore from corrupt people and deposited them into the state fund over the past five years.

If ACC did not follow the “follow the money” policy, it would not be able to recover such a huge sum, the lawyer said.

According to a Bangladesh Bank survey, around 4,500 Tk crore was embezzled from BASIC bank between 2009 and 2013 when Sheikh Abdul Hye Bacchu chaired the bank’s board of directors.

Lawyer Zainul Abedin appeared for Mohammad Ali.

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