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ACC under pressure to amend Money Laundering Act

22 November 2022

Staff Reporter :
As per the Money Laundering Act 2012, Anti Corruption Commission was the lone jurisdiction to investigate all types of money laundering cases.
Later, the amending law of 2015 kept only bribery and corruption related money laundering cases under ACC's jurisdiction out of the 27 types of such offensives.
Since then, the ACC has no jurisdiction to investigate any other types of money laundering cases.
The government had given responsibilities of investigating the rest of the 25 types of money laundering cases to the other six agencies.
That six agencies are Police Department (CID), National Board of Revenue (NBR), Bangladesh Customs, Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC), Department of Environment and Directorate of Narcotics Control.
As a result, all other money laundering offenses including cross-border money laundering, forgery and fraud offenses related money laundering cases fell out of the ACC's jurisdiction.
As per the media reports, about 80 percent of money laundering cases occurred under the guise of import-export businesses.
On the other hand, a large portion of money laundering case took places in private sectors.
The ACC officials said that they have no jurisdictions to conduct investigations in those cases though huge amount of money has been laundered through those channels.
Sources said, four lakh 36 thousand crores of taka has been laundered abroad in 2009 to 2015 from the country.
On average about 73 thousand crore taka has been laundered abroad every year as per the ratio.
Meanwhile, more than one lakh crore taka has been laundered in 2015 alone.
18 per cent of the foreign trades were false in the year, sources said.
Reports from the USA based Global Financial Integrity (GFI) also found the truthfulness of these money laundering cases in guise of foreign trades.
The GFI also said that the money laundering cases are increasing in Bangladesh in guise of export and import businesses every year.
ACC officials said that in cases of money laundering, everyone used to give responsibilities to the ACC. Even, the High Court recently said that the ACC is sleeping on the heap of the cases of money laundering and efforts to bring back those laundered money.
In these, lights of views, the ACC initiated efforts for amending the stipulated law to bring back jurisdictions to investigate every case of money launderings, officials said.
The organisation wants to implement the High Court's judgment on the power to investigate any crime related to the money laundering.
As part of these efforts, the ACC Chairman Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah gave strong speech in the 26th meeting of the National Coordinating Committee on Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing on August 30.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal presided over the online meeting.
ACC Chairman said that it is very much important to bring back all power and jurisdictions to the organization to conduct investigations into all types of money laundering cases under the HC judgment in this regard.
An official of the meeting said preferring anonymity that the Finance Minister has gave importance on the proposal brought by the ACC Chairman.
The Minister directed the related officials to scrutinize the proposal and to prepare a draft on this matter so that it could be finalise in the next meeting of the committee.
He said that final decision over the proposal could be taken after discussion in the meeting.
ACC Chairman Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah said, "High Court has said recently in a judgment of a case that ACC has responsibility to conduct investigation in all cases of money laundering. But the law give us jurisdiction only to investigate bribery and corruption related money laundering cases. In these circumstances, we feel very uneasy."
The ACC Chairman said that his organisation has proposed the Finance Ministry to reform the law and give ACC the jurisdiction to investigate all cases of money laundering.
He said that the cabinet division has given directions to the financial institute division to take the necessary steps in this regard.

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