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  • probirbidhan 19:46 on November 23, 2012 Permalink |
    Tags: Anti-Corruption Commission, , Coco, ,   

    ‘Koko’s laundered money’ a drama, claims BNP 

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    UNB, Dhaka November 23, 2012

    BNP on Friday shrugged off the report on the recovery of Tk 13 crore purportedly laundered by BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s younger son Arafat Rahman Koko, saying it is an effort by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to undermine the opposition.

    “The current ACC has already established itself as an agent of the government. We think ACC is biased to the government and now working to belittle the opposition at its behest,” said BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.

    The BNP spokesman came up with his party’s reaction to the report on the recovery of the laundered money while visiting injured Shariatpur district unit leaders of BNP at a city hospital.

    Earlier on Thursday, ACC Chairman Ghulam Rahman told reporters that the commission has brought back around Tk 13 crore laundered by Koko and his associate.

    Reacting to the ACC chairman’s claim, Fakhrul said, “The incident of the recovery of money is nothing but part of efforts of the ACC to assassinate the characters of the opposition leaders …it’s politically motivated.”

    Accusing the government of using the ACC to gain its narrow political interests, the BNP leader said the current regime cooked up the story through the ACC to defame Koko to divert people’s attention from their corruption and failures.

    He alleged that the ACC is not taking any action against the ruling party men who laundered several thousand crores of taka after looting from the financial sector, including the share market, and through Destiny and Hall-Mark groups.

    Fakhrul also alleged that the anti-graft body is giving clean chits to the ruling party men involved in corruption while filing false cases against Khaleda Zia, Tarique Rahman and Koko one after another.

     

    M Rahman/The Daily Star, November 23, 2012

    The Anti-Corruption Commission says it has brought back around 20.41 lakh Singapore dollars laundered by BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s younger son Arafat Rahman Koko and his associate.

    “A few minutes back, I came to know that the sum of money has been transferred to Sonali Bank’s Ramna corporate branch from Singapore,” ACC Chairman Ghulam Rahman around 5:00pm yesterday said.

    The commission earlier had opened the Stolen Asset Recovery Account to receive the amount, he told reporters while leaving his office in the capital’s Segunbagicha.

    The money, equivalent to over Tk 13 crore, was deposited in Singapore by Koko and Ismail Hossain Saimon, son of former BNP minister late Akbar Hossain. It will be now spent in anti-graft activities, he said.

    This is the first money laundering case in which the government could recover an amount.

    ACC Deputy Director Abu Syeed on March 17, 2009 sued Koko and Saimon for laundering more than Tk 20 crore — Singapore $28,84,603.15 and US $9,32,672.81.

    Koko had received the amount from the Chinese company Siemens and from Habibur Rahman, a Bangladeshi living in Dubai, Syeed told The Daily Star over phone yesterday.

    The anti-graft body recovered the amount that Habib had sent to Fairhill Consulting’s account at Singapore Overseas Bank from Janata Bank’s Dubai branch between 2004 and 2007.

    An ACC probe found Koko was the owner of Fairhill.

    In the case, the ACC pinpoints Koko’s dealings with China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd for constructing the New Mooring Container Terminal and with Siemens for supplying and setting up equipment for Teletalk mobile phone company.

    Trying him in absentia, a Dhaka court on June 23 last year sentenced Koko to six years’ rigorous imprisonment. It also fined him around Tk 39 crore and ordered confiscating the laundered money.

    Saimon was handed down the same sentence.

    Abu Syeed said the ACC was yet to interrogate expatriate Habibur Rahman, who hails from Habiganj, and implicate him in the money laundering.

    Koko left the country for Bangkok for treatment on July 19, 2008 after getting out of jail on parole. He was arrested on September 2 the year before along with his mother from their cantonment residence.

    This is the first time the ACC has investigated overseas money laundering and corruption.

    The probe was conducted with the help of the Singapore authorities following a mutual legal assistance request under the UN Convention against Corruption. The ACC obtained many documents from Singapore.

    The Attorney General’s Office and Bangladesh Bank have played a vital role in the investigation.

    A Singapore court ordered the return of the money to Bangladesh, the ACC chairman said, adding that bringing back US $9,32,672.81 was also underway.

    He thanked the United States, FBI and US Justice Department and Singaporean authorities for their contributions in the recovery.

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  • probirbidhan 21:59 on July 5, 2012 Permalink |
    Tags: Anti-Corruption Commission, ,   

    Corruption grows because of politics: ACC chairman 

    Major parties not sincere in fighting graft

    The Daily Star July 4, 2012

    The two main political parties in the country are “not sincere” in fulfilling their electoral pledges to tackle corruption, Anti-Corruption Commission Chairman Ghulam Rahman has said.

    “Promises to fight graft are aplenty in the electoral manifestos of the two main political parties [Awami League and BNP]. But initiatives to implement their manifestos and promises are not seen,” Ghulam Rahman was quoted as saying at a discussion at the commission auditorium in the capital yesterday.

    The press was not invited to the programme organised by Bangladesh Enterprise Ltd.

    দুর্নীতি দমনে দৃঢ় পদক্ষেপ নেই

    আ.লীগকে নতুন নেতৃত্বের হাতে তুলে দেওয়ার চেষ্টা করছি: আশরাফ

    Meeting sources on condition of anonymity told The Daily Star that the anti-graft body boss said political will was imperative to check corruption.

    Later in the afternoon, the ACC chief briefed the media at his office where he said, “The amendment to the Anti-Corruption Commission Act has remained pending for the last one and a half years. I hope it will be amended during the current parliament session.”

    Asked why the press had not been invited to cover the discussion, Ghulam Rahman told this newspaper over the phone, “We did not think it necessary. It is for me to decide whether or not I will call anybody to my home.”

    It may be mentioned that the ACC on June 28 imposed a ban on media access to its office.

    The 11:00am to 1:00pm discussion was chaired by the ACC chairman and was attended by Chief Information Commissioner Muhammad Zamir, Comptroller and Auditor General Ahmed Ataul Hakeem, ACC Commissioner Mohammad Sahabuddin Chuppu and Information Commissioners Abu Taher and Sadeka Halim, among others.

    “Access to information is people’s right. Transparency and accountability of the government can be ensured only by ensuring people’s access to information on all important issues,” the chief information commissioner was quoted as saying at the discussion.

     
  • probirbidhan 05:49 on June 2, 2012 Permalink |
    Tags: Ain O Salish Kendra, Anti-Corruption Commission, , former chief election commissioner ATM Shamsul Huda, good governance, , Impunity, insecurity, Sachetan Nagorik Committee (concerned citizens committee), Suranjit Sengupta, TIB Chairperson Sultana Kamal, TIB Trustee Board Member M Hafizuddin Khan, Youth Engagement Support (YES)   

    Democracy, HR at stake, say rights activists, echoes minister 

    TIB Chairperson Sultana Kamal addresses the inaugural ceremony of a national conference organised by Sachetan Nagorik Committee and Youth Engagement Support (YES) at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the capital yesterday. On her left is TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman and on her right are TIB Trustee Board Member M Hafizuddin Khan and former chief election commissioner ATM Shamsul Huda. Photo: STAR

    TIB Chairperson Sultana Kamal has said she finds signs of instability in the country.

    “The situation we today have in Bangladesh — say it good governance, human rights or democracy — from all perspectives we see elements of massive unrest,” she said at the inaugural of a convention at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka yesterday.

    “An undemocratic force…that sort of trend is increasing day by day. All these are linked to corruption,” said Sultana, also executive director of rights body Ain O Salish Kendra.

    Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) organised the two-day national event of the Sachetan Nagorik Committee (concerned citizens committee) and Youth Engagement Support (YES).

    TIB runs its anti-graft awareness movement across the country through these groups.

    Sultana Kamal, also former adviser to a caretaker government, said people’s rights are being snatched and their dream of a prosperous democratic society is being vanished.

    “People have no power today. Impunity and insecurity have crept deep [in the society]. People have lost hope that anything good will happen in this country. This is a great injury to the society,” she noted.

    Parliament and the cabinet appear to be non-distinctive, and government institutions are being destroyed, according to the rights activist.

    Citizens have a major role in overcoming these hurdles, but they often do not know their rights and power, she said, adding, “Therefore, we need to educate ourselves as citizens and work hand in hand to realise our rights.”

    Corruption is on the rise with the Anti-Corruption Commission being reduced to a “handicapped” institution and parliament non-functional, said TIB Trustee Board Member M Hafizuddin Khan.

    “Checking corruption was one of the five major election pledges of the government. However, things are quite different now,” he told about 700 members of the Nagorik committee.

    The session for the YES members will be held today.

    Hafizuddin, also former adviser to a caretaker government, called for waging a citizen movement to fight graft.

    According to former chief election commissioner ATM Shamsul Huda, there is a syndicate of those in the power –from top to bottom — and that is responsible for corruption.

    “The government knows it very well, but there is no remedy to it,” said Huda, now a TIB Trustee Board member.

    Referring to his experience as a government official in Bagerhat, he said he had seen how the influential people close to the power structure deprived people of their properties in the name of building infrastructure.

    On picking up honest candidates in the polls, he said, “Citizens have to play the role here. Through various activities they have to create an environment so that the political parties nominate honest and competent candidates.”

    He called on the youths to unite and wage a resistance against corruption and abuse of power. “The resistance should come both from individual and group levels. This surely has an impact.”

    Prof Rawshan Jahan, widow of eminent economist Muzaffer Ahmad, administered oath to the Nagorik committee members who pledged to fight corruption.

    The convention was dedicated to the memory of two former chairpersons of the TIB Trustee Board — industrialist Samson H Chowdhury, who died on January 5, and Prof Muzaffer Ahmad, who died on May 22.

    Meanwhile, Transparency International Chairperson Hugette Label in a statement yesterday said members of Nagorik committee and YES are actively working against corruption, which is a model for a positive change.

     

    সাংবাদিক নির্যাতন: সুরঞ্জিত দুষলেন দুর্বল গণতন্ত্রকে

    ঢাকা, জুন ০১ (বিডিনিউজ টোয়েন্টিফোর ডটকম)- সাম্প্রতিক সময়ে সাংবাদিকদের ওপর হামলা ও পুলিশি নির্যাতনের ঘটনায় গণতান্ত্রিক প্রতিষ্ঠানগুলোর ‘দুর্বলতাকে’ দায়ী করেছেন দপ্তরবিহীন মন্ত্রী সুরঞ্জিত সেনগুপ্ত।

    শুক্রবার সকালে জাতীয় প্রেসক্লাবে এক আলোচনা সভায় তিনি বলেন, “গণমাধ্যমকে আক্রমণ করার কথাতো পুলিশের ছিল না। এতো অসহিষ্ণুতা কেন। এগুলো গণতান্ত্রিক শক্তির প্রতিষ্ঠানগুলোর দুর্বলতার কারণে ঘটছে। গণতান্ত্রিক প্রতিষ্ঠান যেমন সংসদ কিংবা নির্বাচন কমিশন যদি কার্যকর এবং শক্তিশালী হতো তাহলে এ ধরনের ঘটনা আর ঘটতো না।”

    দায়িত্ব পালনের সময় পুলিশকে ‘সংযমী আচরণ’ করার আহবান জানান তিনি।

    গত সপ্তাহে রাজধানীতে মহিলা পলিটেকনিক ইনস্টিটিউটে বিক্ষোভের সময় দায়িত্ব পালন করতে গিয়ে পুলিশের নির্যাতনের শিকার হন প্রথম আলোর তিন ফটো সাংবাদিক। আদালত পাড়ায় পুলিশের হাতে এক তরুণীর শ্লীলতাহানির খবর সংগ্রহ করতে গিয়ে তিন সাংবাদিক পিটুনির শিকার হন। আর বিডিনিউজ টোয়েন্টিফোর ডটকম কার্যালয়ের সামনে এই ইন্টারনেট সংবাদপত্রের দুই সাংবাদিককে ছুরি মেরে আহত করে সন্ত্রাসীরা।

    শুক্রবার সকালে একটি অনুষ্ঠানে সাংবাদিকদের ওপর হামলা ও পুলিশি নির্যাতনের ঘটনায় ‘দুঃখ’ প্রকাশ করেন স্বরাষ্ট্রমন্ত্রী সাহারা খাতুন।

    এরপর দুপুরে বার্তা সংস্থা পিটিবি নিউজ ডটকম আয়োজিত আলোচনা সভায় গণতান্ত্রিক প্রতিষ্ঠানের দুর্বলতার জন্য বিরোধীদলের সহযোগিতার অভাবকে দায়ী করেন ক্ষমতাশীন আওয়ামী লীগের উপদেষ্টাম-লীর সদস্য সুরঞ্জিত।

    তিনি বলেন “বাংলাদেশে এখন সবচেয়ে বড় সংকটে রয়েছে গণতন্ত্র। দেশে গণতন্ত্র টিকিয়ে রাখাই বর্তমানে সবচেয়ে বড় চ্যালেঞ্জ। আমার সন্দেহ হয় আদৌও তারা (বিএনপি) গণতন্ত্রে বিশ্বাস করে কিনা।”

    “গণতন্ত্রে বিরোধী দল না থাকলে গণতন্ত্রের জবাবদিহিতা থাকে না। পৃথিবীতে এমন কোনো দেশ নেই যে দেশে বিরোধী দল সংসদে অংশ নেয় না”, যোগ করেন তিনি।

    বিরোধীদলকে উদ্দেশ্য করে তিনি বলেন, “সরকার বিরোধী দলের সাথে সংলাপে রাজি আছে। তবে সংলাপে কোনো শর্ত যোগ করা যাবে না। আপনারা (বিরোধী দল) নির্বাচন বিষয়ে আপনাদের রূপরেখা জানান। সরকার অবশ্যই তা বিবেচনায় আনবে।”

    অবশ্য তত্ত্বাবধায়ক সরকার ব্যবস্থা আবার প্রবর্তনের বিষয়টি নাকচ করে তিনি বলেন, “কোনো অনির্বাচিত সরকারের হাতে সরকার ক্ষমতা হস্তান্তর করবে না।”

    পিটিবি নিউজ ডটকম আয়োজিত ‘স্বাধীনতার চল্লিশ দশক পূর্তি : জাতির প্রত্যাশা ও প্রাপ্তি’ শীর্ষক এ আলোচনা সভায় অন্যদের মধ্যে ওয়ার্কার্স পার্টির সভাপতি রাশেদ খান মেনন, পঙ্কজ ভট্টাচার্য বক্তব্য রাখেন।

     
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