The banks of developed countries do not want to disclose information regarding the siphoning off of money by Bangladeshi nationals, foreign minister AK Abdul Momen said yesterday (Friday). He said his ministry would follow the law ministry’s directives as to what can be done about freezing the bank accounts of Tarique Rahman and his wife Dr Zubaida Rahman with a UK bank.
“I have come to know this information this morning through the media. Our law minister will be able to provide more information about it. We will work according to the directives,” he said.
In reply to a query of the journalists, the foreign minister made the remarks after returning from a programme of the 23rd annual district convention 2019 of Lions Clubs International, District 315 B3, at a city hotel.
In reply to a query as to how a Bangladeshi court"s order can be implemented in another country, Momen said, “Every developed country in the world wants the implementation of its respective court"s orders. We also want the enforcement of our court"s orders. In most of the cases, our orders are not enforced. Here we have some weaknesses, because some developed countries give emphasis on the rule of law, but don"t assist us in this regard in the enforcement of the rule of law.”
“Say, some of the self-confessed killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman are hiding in many countries, including developed ones. But they don"t approach us in this regard. It"s a kind of double standard,” he observed.
“Recently, we requested the developed countries where Bangabandhu"s killers are hiding to extradite the killers before the birth centenary of Bangabandhu. We want to bring all such convicted persons to home to enforce the verdict. We are hopeful of it,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, a Dhaka court on Thursday ordered the freezing of three bank accounts
of Tarique Rahman and his wife with Standard Bank, UK. The order came following a permission case filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
According to the permission case, the ACC had formed an inquiry committee while investigating Tarique"s investments aboard after siphoning off the money. The transfer of GBP 59,341.93 from White and Blue Consultant Limited to three accounts of Tarique and Zubaida remained halted at the orders of the Financial Intelligence Unit, UK.
When asked about bringing back the siphoned-off money, Momen said, “There are also wicked persons abroad. The rich countries put much pressure on us to stop money laundering. But it is regrettable that our money launderers keep money in the bank accounts of these rich countries. They don"t want to disclose this information. Say, the Swiss banks—the rich countries tell us to stop money laundering, but, on the other hand, they create such scope. We hope they will help us here in the future.”
To another question, whether the alleged siphoned-off money has been transferred to the bank accounts of Tarique Zia from Bangladesh, the minister said, “We don"t know about it. We have to know about it. As he (Tarique) does not earn anything abroad, how will it be deposited there?”
At the programme, the foreign minister urged Lions Clubs International to come forward to assist the people and to work with the government in various fields like health.
The minister also proposed to Lions Clubs International to launch a campaign for humanity across the globe in its 46,000-odd branches worldwide to redress conflicts in the world.
“Bangladesh is a role mode of humanity. Bangladesh can take a lead to start a campaign for humanity. The world is facing conflicts because of a mind-set of intolerance. All our development will be spoiled if we fail to stop war and conflicts,” he added.
Qazi Akramuddin Ahmed, international director of Lions Clubs International and also chairman of Standard Bank Limited, Sheikh Kabir Hossain, international director of Lions Clubs International, and Mohammad Ershad Hussain, district governor of Lions Clubs International, were also present, among others.