Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday told parliament that the government is investigating the allegation of siphoning off money over Tk 12,00 crore in 12 countries by the Zia family and some Bangladesh Nationalist Party leaders.
“We have information about the wealth of Zia family and some BNP leaders abroad. Investigation has been underway into the matter,” Hasina told parliament while responding to a supplementary question from opposition lawmaker Fakhrul Imam.
“As the investigation is on, I cannot make further remarks on the matter,” she told the House with Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in the chair.
The premier said the government would take measures after getting the investigation report.
“We will take action following proper investigation of the report,” she said, adding that “the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit under the Bangladesh Bank is also working in this regard.”
She said her government would take measures to bring back the laundered money if the allegation is found truth.
Thanking the opposition lawmaker, the premier said, “If we mentioned about the report, some would say that the government was saying it intentionally.”
Taking the floor, the Jatiya Party lawmaker asked the premier about the Global Intelligence Network which mentioned Zia family and BNP leaders’ wealth abroad.
The JP lawmaker said according to the latest report of Global Intelligence Network, family members of Khaleda Zia have laundered money over Tk 12,00 crore in 12 countries where they have businesses, flats and other types of wealth. Fakhrul Imam said Khaleda Zia, her eldest son Tarique Rahman, late youngest son Arafat Rahman Koko, BNP leader Moudud Ahmed, former minister Aminul Islam, BNP standing committee members Mirza Abbas and Nazrul Islam Khan, Abbas’s wife Afroza Abbas have different types of businesses and property abroad.
The lawmaker wanted to know whether the premier is aware of this report. “If you know about the matter, what kind of action will be taken by the government in bringing back the money,” he asked.
In reply to the query, Hasina, also leader of the House, said she is informed about the GIN report on money laundering by Zia family members abroad. Referring to the BNP regime between 2001 and 2006, the premier said everyone knew that BNP carried out killing, repression and looted public money during their tenure. “People also know it well how they laundered public money,” she said.
Mentioning her government’s success in bringing back some laundered money, the premier said the government already got the money back siphoned off by Arafat Rahman Koko.
“It was the first example that the government brought back siphoned money from abroad,” she said.
Responding to another query, the premier said the government took ‘zero tolerance policy’ to contain the acts of militancy and vowed to take stern legal action against any person and organisation for providing finance to the acts of militancy.
“The government has been seriously investigating the cases which have been filed against some individuals and organisaions on charge of providing financial assistance to the acts of militancy,” she said. Highlighting her government’s role against militancy, she said the government suspects some more individuals and organisations too.
“The government is also monitoring whether the remittance and local money are being used for the militancy,” she said.