July 23, 2024, 12:08 pm

Benazir withdrew money from bank accounts before seizure

  • Update Time : Thursday, May 30, 2024
  • 39 Time View
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TDS Desk:

Former inspector general of police (IGP) Benazir Ahmed and his family withdrew money from their bank accounts before a Dhaka court ordered to freeze those on 23 May. However, the amount of the sum could not be known.

It also could not be known whether Benazir and his family members have already sold flats, land, or other properties or transferred those in the name of others before the court order came into effect. Besides, there is confusion over if the former top police official is in Bangladesh, while sources said Benazir is staying in Dubai with his family.

Meanwhile, it has been found that Benazir’s two daughters – Farheen Rishta Binte Benazir and Tahseen Raisa Binte Benazir – have ownership of the private satellite television channel, Citizen TV. Both of them were students when the television channel secured approval in 2017.

On the other hand, considering the request of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) has sent letters to some countries, seeking information on whether the former IGP and his family own any assets there.

On 23 May, Judge Mohammad As-Shams Jaglul Hossain of Dhaka Metropolitan Senior Special Judge’s Court ordered the confiscation of 345 bighas (114 acres) of land properties in Gopalganj, encompassed by 83 deeds, and the freezing of 33 bank accounts belonging to Benazir and his family members.

Before the court order took effect, money was withdrawn or transferred from deposit accounts. It could not be confirmed whether Benazir learnt the matter earlier that the bank accounts could be frozen, or he anticipated such an issue.

A senior official of one of the government agencies said, in such a case, whenever someone realises that he/she might be brought to book, the individual withdraws money. However, it is possible to trace the money whether it is kept in cash, or deposited in someone else’s account, he added.

On 22 April, the ACC told the media that it formed a three-member committee, led by Deputy Director Md Hafizul Islam, to investigate the allegations against the former IGP of amassing huge illegal wealth through abusing power.

At the request of the ACC, the BFIU then sent letters to various banks seeking information and informed the commission later on. Based on the information of the ACC, the court ordered to confiscate 345 bighas of land properties and freeze 33 bank accounts.

On 26 May, the same court also ordered the confiscation of 119 land deeds, 23 company shares, and four flats in Gulshan. The anti-graft watchdog said the court orders have been sent to the banks concerned to stop any transaction, and to the sub-registrar offices of the districts concerned so that the land properties in the name of Benazir and his family members are not sold or transferred.

ACC officials said legal action will be taken against Benazir and his family members if they withdraw money from bank accounts shortly before the court order.

They said if that money is invested anywhere, it will be treated as the amount earned through crimes and will be added to the total wealth considering those accumulated through corruption. And if the withdrawn money is not invested in any sector, the individuals will be brought to book under the Money Laundering Prevention Act.

The officials added that the individuals cannot be able to withdraw money after seizing the bank accounts. Even after the court order, if they withdraw money, the bank authorities will face the music.

BFIU sends letters to different countries:

ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan told reporters on Wednesday that the anti-corruption watchdog suspects Benazir might have laundered money abroad. So, the ACC has requested the BFIU to send a Mutual Legal Assistance Request (MLAR) to determine whether Benazir holds assets in the United Arab Emirates, Canada, the USA, and other countries.

Considering the request, the BFIU sent letters to some countries seeking information about whether Benazir and his family members hold assets there.

“Further action will be taken if any information is received from these countries,” a BFIU official told the media.

Benazir’s two daughters own Citizen TV:

While investigating the assets of Benazir’s family, the BFIU found that the former IGP’s two daughters are the directors of Citizen TV. This information has already been sent to the ACC.

Benazir was the director general of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) when the television channel received government approval in 2017, while both of his daughters were students then.

One of the conditions for approval of Citizen TV was to go on air within a year, and no shares could be transferred before going into and until two years of complete broadcast.

The television channel has not yet come on air despite getting government approval.

In 2021, a special notice deposit (SND) account was opened at the EXIM Bank in the name of Citizen TV. This account is still active.

The account opening form mentioned the address of Benazir’s two daughters – 228/3, Sheikhpara Road, South Jatrabari.


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