Monday, May 20, 2024

ACC defends revelations of Koko’s transactions in S’pore days before poll

ACC got info on Koko’s transactions on Sept 30: Mashhud
UNB, Dhaka
Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) on Monday defended revelations about BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s youngest son Arafat Rahman Koko’s transactions in Singapore days before elections saying the Commission considers it unacceptable to curb or interrupt its activities for political activities.
“It’s unacceptable that the Commission’s activities will have to be curbed or interrupted for any political activity. We consider authentic the information (about Koko) we’ve received,” ACC Chairman Lt Gen (Retd) Hasan Mashhud Cho-wdhury told a press briefing.
“The Commission doesn’t think the allegation is untrue or motivated ones. Being aware about people’s right to get information, the Commission has revealed the details of the allegation,” he said.
The ACC Chairman usually briefs the media on the first Monday or Thursday of the month. But, he briefed yesterday apparently to clear the ACC’s position on revelations made by the Commission Thur-sday that an inquiry is underway into the transactions made by Koko in Singapore.
Mashhud categorically said, “No one or a quarter is the ACC’s opponent. The Commission only considers corruption as its opponent.”
Asked if the ACC has enough evidence to file a case in this connection against Koko, he said, “Certainly… the detailed information we’ve got contain bank accounts, date of transactions and number of cheques,” he said.
About the timing of filing the case, Mashhud said everything would be done as per rules. “It has to be ascertained that the money was siphoned off. It’ll take plenty of time and money.”
He also hoped that the information they received would be turned into a case or charge sheet.
Asked when the Commission received the information from Singapore authority, ACC chairman said, “Possibly, we could have known the information two weeks ago. We didn’t get the information directly. We’ve got the information through the attorney general.”
After the press briefing, he came back to reporters to correct the timing. He said the Commission actually got the information on September 30 this year.
“A lot of money was spent. Three individuals were sent to Singapore,” Mashhud told reporters at the ACC premises. The person concerned has appointed a good lawyer to stop the money coming from Singapore, he added.
The ACC Chairman told the briefing, “After receiving the information, we had to be aware about rationale and acceptability. Secondly, we’ve got advice from foreign organisations that a case can be initiated in the USA through which the acceptability will increase. For that we waited a little bit.”
Asked if the ACC could have waited for another two weeks to make the revelations, he said, “There is no obligation that our activities will have to be coordinated with the ongoing political process. No one can say for sure that there will be a favorable situation in the future.”
Mashhud said the Commission has decided to make the information public only after being sure about the legal acceptability of that. The Commission talked to everyone concerned, including lawyers, to take the decision, he added.
“Had it considered the information incorrect the Commission would not have publicised it,” he said.
Responding to a query, Mashhud said had the “money been illegal it would have been mentioned in the wealth statement submitted to the Commission.”
Asked if the information is proved wrong, he said in that case the person concerned could take legal measures against the ACC.
Sought comments on Barrister Rafique-ul Haque’s remarks that 88 per cent of the ACC cases are politically motivated, Mashhud said everyone is entitled to (his or her) opinion.
“Through our activities in the last one and half to two years we’ve tried to prove that we’ve not been politically influenced. If we were (politically motivated) we couldn’t possibly hold our current position.”
About bringing the money back, he said everything has to be done through legal process. “It has to be done through Mutual Legal Assistance Request. We’re working.”
Asked whether his today’s remarks and that of Col Hanif Iqbal on Thursday could influence the election, Mashhud said, “That’s not our concern. In our law and rules it is not written that ACC will have to be aware about political situation and activities while determining its activities.”
Commenting on suggestions that ACC does not want the election to be held, he said, “It should not matter whether ACC wants election or not. As a citizen, I want election.”
Asked if the ACC would be able to continue the cases, including Koko’ s one, under the future political government, the ACC chairman said, “There will be 100 per cent intention. But, whether we’ll be able to do will depend upon assistance and interruption we’ll get from legal process.”


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