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Six secys under ACC scanner

Inquiry officers to be assigned investigation this week

Ahammad Foyez

The Anti-Corruption Commission has started the process for investigation into the ‘illegal’ wealth of five serving and one former secretaries, an ACC official told New Age.
The secretaries are – expatriates welfare and overseas employment secretary Khandakar Shawkat Hossain, health secretary Niaz Uddin Mia, liberation war affairs secretary KH Masud Siddiqui, science and technology secretary (in charge) AKM Amir Hossain, internal resources division secretary Md Ghulam Hussain, also chairman of the National Board of Revenue, and former senior secretary to the prime minister’s office Molla Waheeduzzaman.
The commission has already approved inquiry against them, the official said adding that it was likely to assign its inquiry officers the tasks this week.
About the ACC’s inquiry, health secretary Niaz Uddin Mia told New Age that he was confident the commission would not be able to prove any corruption allegations against him. ‘I was not involved in any irregularities,’ he said.
Liberation war affairs secretary KH Masud Siddiqui declined comments on the matter.
The commission has already launched inquiry into the alleged corruption of NBR chairman Ghulam Hussain, the official said.
ACC commissioner Nasiruddin Ahmed sent a letter to the principal secretary to the Prime Minister’s Office, Sheikh Md Wahid-uz-Zaman, on December 17 and briefed him about the probe against the NBR chairman.  The commissioner also informed the senior secretary of the public administration ministry of the matter.
In the letter, the ACC commissioner said, ‘This is to inform you that there are a number of allegations against NBR chairman Ghulam Hossain. The allegations are under investigation by the Anti-Corruption Commission.’
The ACC launch the probe after receiving specific allegations that Ghulam Hossain, also the secretary to the internal resources division, had amassed illegal wealth of at least Taka 200 crore abusing his power.
The commission decided to investigate the wealth of the secretaries after the High Court had declared illegal Section 32 (Ka) of the Anti-Corruption Commission (Amendment) Act-2013, stripping public servants of the safeguard which was earlier given to them in case the commission sued them on corruption charges.
The newly incorporated Section 11, 32(Ka) of the ACC Act gave undue protection to the public servants by curbing ACC’s power to prosecute government officials on corruption charges without prior permission from the government.
In recent past, the only case reported to have been filed by the commission against any secretary was on December 17, 2012.
The case was filed case against the secretary of the Bridge Division, Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, after he was sent on leave to comply with the World Bank’s conditions over the Padma Bridge project graft.
Later, the government reinstated him to his earlier position as the Bridge Division secretary.

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