None to be spared, govt or opposition leaders: ACC

Staff Correspondent

The Anti-Corruption Commission on Thursday said it was looking into the corruption committed allegedly by leaders of the previous governments, including the immediate past opposition parties, as graft was an unending phenomenon committed by successive governments.
‘Corruption is nothing new. Investigating alleged irregularities of only an immediate past government would not be fair, rather we will have to look into allegations of graft committed by their predecessors as well,’ ACC commissioner M Shahabuddin told reporters.
He said, ‘We are working on it. The ACC is not only looking into the graft allegations against the ruling party men, it is also looking into corruption committed by the immediate past opposition parties,’ he said in an apparent reference to the Bangladesh nationalist Party and Jamaat-e-Islami.
‘And we will continue the process,’ the commissioner said in response to reporters’ queries at the ACC headquarters in Segunbagicha.
Replying a question about interrogation of former state minister for housing and public works Abdul Mannan Khan, also a ruling party leader, the commissioner said that the ACC was an independent body and there was no way for someone to feel privileged since the commission was not flexible towards anyone.
‘The former minister was here to give his statement in response to our notice,’ he said.
The commissioner also said the inquiries against lawmakers were at a primary stage.
Asked about the alleged involvement of Rajuk chairman M Nurul Huda in the graft allegations made against former housing and public works secretary Khondaker Showkat Hossain, the commissioner said the Rajuk chairman was not an accused.
‘Rajuk chairman was liable for approval of changes made in the projects…since the changes in size of plots were made under different projects of Rajuk, the inquiry officer will examine whether the Rajuk chairman was involved or not,’ Shahabuddin said.
Earlier on the day, the anti-graft body questioned former state minister Abdul Mannan Khan, Jatiya Party leader and former lawmaker for Satkhira-2 constituency Abdul Jabbar and Rajuk chairman M Nurul Huda over different allegations.
Coming out of the commission, Mannan Khan told reporters that he had answered all questions asked by the ACC and he believed the anti-graft body would find his explanations satisfactory. ‘Truth will prevail at the end of the day,’ he said.
Mannan’s assets grew 110 times to Tk11 crore in 2013, from Tk10 lakh in 2008, according to his affidavit placed to the Election Commission.
After facing the ACC questions, Rajuk chairman Huda threw an open challenge that none could prove he was involved in any irregularities.
‘I have done no irregularities in discharging my responsibilities and it is an open challenge,’ Huda said, adding that the ACC has taken his statement over an inquiry against a VIP person and he had answered the ACC queries with necessary documents and information he possessed.
The ACC is conducting inquiry against Khondaker Showkat Hossain, now the secretary to the expatriates welfare and overseas employment ministry, on charge of acquiring different plots and making changes to size of plots under Rajuk projects by abusing his power.
On the same day, Abdul Jabbar submitted a written statement to the commission saying that he was sick.

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