The government is working on develop a protocol so that it can officially seize and bring money people siphoned off billions of dollar during last two decades, sources said.
Corrupt officials, garment makers who theft workers money, importers who sold duty free products at local market , bank robbing industrialist and industrialist who made under invoice to avoid tax siphoned off money.
An official of Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) told Business Mirror that the unit is working on develop a separate guideline so that the government can identify and bring bank laundered money abroad. The changes into the guideline will also intensify existing watchdog on money laundering.
However, he was refraining from elaborate details. Sources said the BFIU is working jointly with the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC), Criminal Investigation Department CID) and Home Ministry Officials to develop such a protocol.
Earlier, Bangladesh ranks 26th among 149 countries in the ‘Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries’. Global Financial Integrity (GFI), a Washington-based research and advisory organization, stated this in its report published on previously. According to the study, nearly $9,666 million in illicit money was siphoned from Bangladesh annually.
Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman said it is possible to bring back siphoned money – earned through corruption – with the help of an existing national and international framework of law.
“For this, courage, goodwill and skills are key to carrying out the purpose,” he said adding since smuggled money has been recovered before, the authorities concerned know the whole process.
Asked why laundered money is not brought back now, though it was brought back years ago, he said maybe there used to be skills to do that job before – skills that are lacking now. “In a true sense, there might be much want for goodwill at present,” he added. The whole process of retrieving siphoned-off funds is now easier because it should follow the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). Under the convention, it is possible to make agreements with other countries to retrieve the smuggled funds.
“We all know thousands of crores of taka are being siphoned off from our country. So we can’t rule out the truth,” Planning Minister Abdul Mannan said.
“Crores of taka which were laundered from the country could be invested in our ongoing development works. We use to borrow a few amount of money from banks and other sources. But we have taken huge loan this year due to money laundering,” Mannan said.
He termed the money laundering as having a serious negative impact on the country’s overall economy, saying the government has taken various steps to prevent such crime.
Stating that those indulge in money laundering are ‘state thugs’, Gonoforum President Dr Kamal Hossain recently said all to get united to establish ‘effective democracy’ in the country to get rid of such rigging.
“Thousands of crores of taka are being siphoned off abroad from the country. Such money laundering is a robbery at the state level and those involved in it are state thugs. We must get united to bring back the siphoned off money,” he said
A top Journalist SHafiqul Alam wrote in his facebook wall that entire Canada is a Begum Para for our corrupt officials, bankers, private sector honchos, bank robbing industrialists and politicians. Singling out one tiny place in Toronto only undermines the scale of the crimes and the amount of money siphoned off from Bangladesh, he mentioned.
“There are similar Begum Paras in major cities in Australia and the United States. Cities like Sydney, Melbourne, New York, Greater Washington DC suburb and Florida have seen new Bangladeshi settlement cropping up fast. If you are serious, you can easily find out how many Bangladeshis have settled down there and the amount of properties the Begums and their Sahebzadas have bought in recent years,”.