Bangladesh

Money Laundered to Canada: PM wants ACC to probe allegations

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has directed the Anti-Corruption Commission to probe into the allegations of money being laundered to Canada by some Bangladeshis, said Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader.

"Our foreign minister has already talked about laundering money to Canada. The prime minister has already directed the ACC to investigate it and take action against those involved," Quader told reporters at a press conference on contemporary issues at his secretariat office.

Replying to a question, he said action would be taken on whoever is involved, irrespective of their political identity or whether they are pro-government bureaucrats.

Their identities would be revealed once the ACC completes its investigation, he added.

Quader, also general secretary of the ruling Awami League, made the comments the day after the anti-graft body asked the government to provide a list of its officials who own homes in "Begum Para" of Toronto, Canada.

Besides, the High Court on Sunday asked the ACC chairman, secretaries concerned of the ministries of home and foreign affairs, the governor of Bangladesh Bank and its financial intelligence unit, chairman of the Board of Revenue, and the deputy commissioner of Dhaka to submit the details, including names and addresses, of the people who launder money abroad, to the court by December 17.

Many Bangladeshis have bought luxurious homes in "Begum Para", spending millions of laundered out of Bangladesh. Mainly, the wives and children of Bangladeshi millionaires live in these homes in an area, hence the name Begum Para.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen recently raised eyebrows saying that government officials are forging ahead of politicians in the race to purchase luxurious homes in Begum Para. The minister spoke to The Daily Star on this issue over the phone on November 19.

Replying to another question, Quader said authorities concerned are now investigating whether any incumbent minister or any ruling party lawmaker had links with Monir Hossain, widely known as "Golden Monir".

Monir, who was arrested on Sunday, amassed considerable wealth and property in collusion with some officials of Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha and the housing and public works ministry.

Talking about the upcoming elections in 25 municipalities, Quader said their party's committee will meet on November 28 to select party candidates.

He warned provable rebel candidates about taking disciplinary action.

When asked how Mujibur Rahman Chowdhury -- popularly known as "Nixon" -- got a post in Jubo League, the youth wing of Awami League, even though he fought and defeated AL candidates twice in national elections, Quader said they have sought an apology to the party president and she pardoned them as they promised not to be rebel candidates anymore.

About the government's preparation to prevent the second wave of Covid-19, he said the government is monitoring the situation and would take strict measures if the situation demands.

"For now, the use of masks is a must. Those who will not use mask have to pay a fine. This is very clear. The prime minister is very serious about it,' he said.

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