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ACC plans crackdown on illegal ‘second homes’

20Staff Correspondent
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has warned of legal action against those Bangladeshis who have illegally invested in Malaysia in the name of second home.
Bangladesh and Malaysia would soon sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in this regard, ACC commissioner M Sahabuddin said yesterday.
“Those who have a second home in Malaysia are high profile people and we have enough information about this. Our task will be easy if the MoU is signed,” Sahabuddin said at a view-exchange meeting with owners and chief executives of TV channels
ACC had arranged the meeting at its Dhaka headquarters ahead of its Anti-Corruption Week, which would be observed between March 26 and April 1. ACC chairman M Badiuzzaman and commissioner M Nasiruddin were present at the meeting.
Sahabuddin further said the anti-graft watchdog was trying to sign the MoU by using the influence of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and some other international organisations as Bangladesh was a member of these bodies.
“We have written to the immigration department in this regard and submitted a proposal to the cabinet division. We are hopeful that the MoU will be signed within June,” he added.
TV channel owners and executives said that notwithstanding some criticisms against ACC, the watchdog has done a commendable job in fighting corruption. They also assured ACC of the electronic media’s full support in the fight against corruption.
ACC deputy director M Zulfiker Ali moderated the view exchange meeting.
The watchdog had started the probe into siphoning off money to Malaysia in the name of second home last year. A three-member ACC committee, headed by deputy director M Morshed Alam, is conducting the probe.
The probe committee has already gathered a long list of names of second-home holders.
Influential people usually resort to the ruse of a second home by citing political instability in Bangladesh and siphon off money.
ACC sources said politicians top the list of second-home holders, followed by industrialists and bureaucrats in the second position.
As many as 648 influential people had applied for a second home in foreign countries by the end of the tenure of the last Awami Laegue-led government.
The second home seekers included 287 AL leaders, 96 leaders of BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami, and 265 industrialists and bureaucrats.
Malaysia is the first choice for second home seekers while Canada, US, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and some Middle East countries are also in the preferred list.
Global Financial Integrity (GFI), which conducts research about money laundering, in its report said at least USD 16,077,000,000 was siphoned off from Bangladesh between 2002 and 2011.