July 19, 2024, 1:41 am

Mahabub Alam

2024-06-06 13:30:57 BdST

ACC SummonsBenazir not showing up today

Former Inspector General of Police (IGP) Benazir Ahmed is not appearing before the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) today to face interrogation over illegal wealth he amassed through misuse of power.

Instead, he sought a 15-day time extension from the ACC through his lawyer, sources in the commission said.

The commission will consider his time extension, said the sources, adding that Benazir family members may also seek more time to show up.

On 28 May, the ACC summoned Benazir to appear before the commission today and his wife Zeeshan Mirza and their daughters -- Farhin Rishta Binte Benazir and Tahsin Raisa Binte Benazir -- on 9 June to face interrogation over allegations of amassing huge wealth illegally.

The sources said in case of non-appearance on the possible rescheduled date, the IGP will lose the opportunity to defend himself.  

If the former police chief and his family do not respond to the ACC even after the time extension, the commission will go for the next course of action against them.

The ACC will then send a notice or hang it on the address of the former police force chief asking him and his family members to submit wealth statements.

And after that, the national anti-graft watchdog will file cases against them.

Wishing not to be named, an ACC official said that the commission will lodge cases based on information extracted so far on the movable and immovable wealth of Benazir and his family members.

The sources said two cases may be filed against Benazir and his family members - one on charges of illegally amassing wealth and another for non-submission of wealth info.

As per the ACC Act, one will be sentenced to 10 years in jail for accumulating illegal wealth while three years for the non-submission of wealth info.

Meanwhile, the commission has decided to launch an inquiry into the wealth of the ex-IGP’s associates.

Benazir along with his family has reportedly gone abroad after the commission launched an inquiry into the allegations against him and his family of amassing huge wealth beyond the known sources of income.

On 4 May, they went to Singapore. The sources said Benazir and his wife are now staying there where Zeeshan Mirza is undergoing an operation. But other sources said the former IGP along with his family is now either in Dubai of the United Arab Emirates or in Turkey.

The sources said the ex-police head will not return home but another source said he may come back after getting 15 more days to face interrogation.

Some prominent media outlets of the country, in early April, published a series of reports detailing the wealth and properties allegedly acquired through illegal means by Benazir Ahmed and his family members which sparked a widespread discussion throughout the country.

Supreme Court lawyer Syed Sayedul Haque Suman approached the ACC seeking an investigation into allegations against the ex-IGP of amassing huge illegal wealth by abusing power.

Later, the High Court asked the ACC to submit a progress report on the investigation into the alleged illegal wealth of the former IGP and his family within two months.

On 22 April, the ACC told the media that it formed a three-member committee, led by Deputy Director Md Hafizul Islam, to investigate the allegations against the former IGP of amassing huge illegal wealth through abusing power.

On 23 May, Judge Mohammad As-Shams Jaglul Hossain of Dhaka Metropolitan Senior Special Judge’s Court ordered the confiscation of 345 bighas (114 acres) of land under 83 deeds and the freezing of 33 bank accounts belonging to Benazir and his family members.

At the request of the ACC, the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) then sent letters to various banks seeking information and informed the commission later on. Based on the information of the ACC, the court ordered the confiscation of 345 bighas of land and the freezing of 33 bank accounts.

On 26 May, the same court also ordered the confiscation of land under 119 more deeds, shares in 23 companies and four flats in Gulshan, belonging to Benazir and his family members.

The ACC was also asked to confiscate shares in 19 business firms, three BO accounts and Tk30 lakh savings certificates.

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