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Graft charges against elite to be probed

Published : Friday, 11 January, 2019 at 12:00 AM  Count : 966

The new administration would be going tough on allegations of corruption levelled against several elite including influential politicians and former members of parliament.
The anti-corruption agency, ACC has begun its investigations based on "substantial allegations" involving money laundering, bribe-taking, wealth amassed from undisclosed sources and tax evasion.
Awami League has pledged before election to adopt a zero-tolerance policy against militancy, drugs and corruption.  The ruling party is going tough against corruption as part of its election manifesto.
The ruling party leaders said the party's image will be damaged if any leader or activists were found involved in corruption. They are now saying     that no one, not even members of Awami League, will get away from law enforcement agencies this time.
ACC Chairman Iqbal Mahmood told the press after submitting the annual report of last year. This claim of due diligence is also borne out in the conviction figures, the ACC filed 273 cases with a 68 per cent conviction rate in 2017, compared to 359 cases with only a 54 per cent conviction rate in 2016.
The ACC will begin investigation based on the wealth statements submitted by candidates with the Election Commission (EC) very soon.
ACC said they are now collecting the information from the EC and other related organisations which can provide information about the wealth alongside the monitoring of the issue.
According to the wealth statements of different candidates, the income of several candidates have been doubled, tripled or more in the last five years.
The ACC said they are paying more attention to such candidates' wealth statements who earned a huge amount of wealth overnight.
Some of the candidates' wealth statements are questionable and raise doubts. Reportedly the wealth of several candidates has increased exponentially.     
ACC said media reports are being collected for the resources and the copies of wealth statements will be collected from the EC in due time.
According to an ACC source any inconsistency in wealth statement can also be investigated after the election. The source also said their income must have a legitimate source. Those suspected of acquiring wealth illegally will face investigation.
The legal limit on election expenses for each contesting candidate is determined on a per capita basis, and varies in line with the size of the electorate in each constituency, with a uniform ceiling that applies for everyone.
ACC source also said the income tax documents and wealth statements will be collected for investigation. If the ACC finds any inconsistency, they will be called for interrogation. Thereafter, if any irregularity is found, charges of acquiring illegal wealth may be brought against them.

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