3,275 cases are being tried in lower courts
927 complaints were taken into cognizance last year
A number of cases involving money laundering from Bangladesh have led to discussions and at the same time giving rise to criticism in the last few years.
The one on People’s Leasing and Financial Services Limited (PLFS) is among these cases.
It is alleged that the PLSF by taking the helm of three more non-banking financial institutions has embezzled and siphoned off almost Tk11,000 crore from 2009 and 2019.
However, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in 37 cases alleged that PLSF chief Proshanta Kumar Halder, well-known as PK Halder, and his aides misappropriated and laundered around Tk 3,500 crore.
This apart, Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh Secretary General Major (retd) Abdul Mannan, former BASIC Bank chairman Sheikh Abdul Hye Bachchu, two sons of Tarikat Federation Chairman and Chittagong-2 MP Syed Najibul Bashar Maizbhandari, BNP leader Mirza Abbas and his wife Afroza Abbas, are notably among those sued in different graft cases over the years.
Nobel laureate Dr Muhammad Yunus is also on the list of the ACC cases. He was charged for allegedly embezzling Tk25 crore from Grameen Communications.
ACC investigations, cases
Even though the ACC has not officially disclosed the exact number of cases and investigations in the last five years, the anti-graft body’s annual report of 2022 notes that there were 3,706 impending investigations into the allegations lodged over the years till December last year.
As many as 927 complaints were taken into cognizance for investigation last year when the ACC completed probing 1,119 allegations, including those dating from previous years. However, it filed just 406 cases against those.
The number of investigations, including the unsettled ones, amounted to 1,997 last year. Some 331 investigations were completed during the period while final reports were submitted in 93 other complaints. Charge sheets were submitted in 224 cases in 2022.
Cases in court
A whopping 3,275 cases are being tried in the lower courts in and outside the capital. Charges have been framed in 2,847 of the cases and some 431 suits have been stayed by the High Court.
Let us take a look at some of the much-hyped cases.
BASIC Bank loan scam
The ACC has submitted charge sheets in 59 cases filed over the BASIC Bank loan scam. Although these cases were filed in 2015, the bank’s chairman Sheikh Abdul Hai Bachchu was not named in any of the cases.
But all fingers were already pointed at him as the mastermind of these scams. After eight long years, at the end of the investigation on June 12, his name was included as an accused in 58 charge sheets of these 59 cases.
Nobel Peace laureate Dr. Muhammad Yunus and 12 others were sued for reportedly embezzling over Tk25.22 crore from Grameen Communications. ACC Deputy Director Gulshan Anwar filed the case on May 30 at the ACC Dhaka Integrated District Office-1 under Sections 409, 420, 467, 468, 471 and 109 of the Penal Code and Section 4(2)(3) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act-2012.
An ACC team led by Gulshan Anwar filed all 37 cases against PK Halder, one of the notorious characters in the country’s history of financial scandals.
Two of the cases are under trial now.
He fled the country after being asked to appear at the ACC for interrogation on November 14, 2019. The government issued a travel ban on him on 3 October that year.
The move came after the High Court on November 19, 2020 asked the government and the ACC as to what steps were being taken to bring him back to Bangladesh.
The Interpol issued a red notice against PK Halder on January 8, 2021.
He was arrested by Indian authorities in West Bengal on May 14 last year.
Major (retd) MA Mannan
The retired army official and his wife, Umme Kulsum, along with their aides, were charged in 10 cases over allegedly embezzling Tk200.
The ACC accused Major (retd) Mannan of the misappropriation on the pretext of granting and disbursing loans when he was chairman of Bangladesh Industrial Finance Company Limited. Two of the cases are being tried.
Some 14 people, including two sons — Syed Tyebul Bashar Maizbhandari and Syed Aftabul Bashar Maizbhandari — of Syed Najibul Bashar Maizbhandari, were sued on February 19 for allegedly embezzling around Tk 39.40 crore from Prime Finance and Investment. His party — Tarikat Federation — is a member of the ruling Awami League-led 14-party alliance.
The lawmaker reacted to the case furiously, calling it to be “politically motivated”. He also warned the ACC of dire consequences over the case, garnering the High Court’s resentment on the MP’s comments.
Source: Dhaka Tribune.