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Monday, November 23, 2020

Money launderers are `national traitors`: HC

Staff Reporter  :
The High Court (HC) on Sunday asked the government to submit detail information of the money launderers who built homes abroad.
Terming the launderers as 'national traitors' and 'enemies of the state', the court ordered the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), the Bangladesh Bank governor and National Board of Revenue (NBR) chairman to submit the list within December 17.
An HC bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Ahmed Sohel issued the suo-mote rule after noticing the comment of the Foreign Minister published in different newspapers.
Deputy Attorney General AKM Amin Uddin Manik represented the state while Advocate Khurshid Alam stood for the ACC.
The court also issued a rule in this regard asking the respondents to explain in four weeks as to why the inaction of the respondents in taking appropriate legal initiatives against the money launderer government officials, businessmen, politicians, bankers and others should not be declared illegal.
Bangladesh Bank, Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU), Chairman of the Anti-Corruption Commission, Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary, National Board of Revenue (NBR) and Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka have been asked to comply with the rule.
The court fixed December 17 for passing further order over the issue.
During the proceedings the presiding judge of the bench Md Nazrul Islam Talukder observed, "Some perpetrators are laundering money to different countries including Canada. These news are coming to us."
He said, "Huge amount of money has been laundered to different countries including Canada, Malaysia and Singapore. Most of the launderers are government officials. We need to know their names, addresses and how they are laundering this money."
The court also said, "Those who are laundering money are 'national traitors' and 'enemies of the country'. I think they have betrayed the country and the nation. Isn't it dishonesty with the country if a person launders money to the overseas by studying and staying in the country?"
The court said, "We cannot allow the perpetrators in this way. Money will be taken out of the country in an unauthorized and illegal manner even after having so many law enforcing agencies and courts. So we think a rule need to be issued."
UNB adds: On November 18, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said government officials are involved in siphoning-off money.
"I thought that the number of the politicians (involved in money laundering) would be higher but [according to] the report I received … many government officials have houses in foreign countries and their children are studying there. I've received 28 cases and among them four are politicians while some are RMG businessmen. We're trying to collect more information," he said at a programme at the Dhaka Reporters Unity.
A number of newspapers carried the minister's remarks.
A report of the Global Financial Integrity (GFI) in March said that  Bangladesh lost Tk 63,924 crore ($7.53 billion) a year between 2008 and 2017 to trade misinvoicing.
According to Swiss National Bank's (SNB) annual report for 2019, deposit of money by Bangladeshis and enterprises went down by 2.38 percent to 603 million Swiss Francs (CHF) in 2019 from 617 million CHF in the previous year.
Bangladesh is gearing up for a crackdown on black money. The government is reportedly planning to sign taxation agreements with as many as 12 countries for allowing exchange of information in order to bring back black money stashed abroad.
In the latest budget, the government introduced a scope to whiten black money.