Outgoing ACC Chairman Ghulam Rahman has said the World Bank allegations regarding former communication minister Abul Hossain’s involvement in corruption conspiracy in the Padma bridge project do not necessarily make him guilty.
In the inquiry stage, the Anti-Corruption Commission did not find any proof that connects Abul Hossain to the case, Rahman said at a press briefing at ACC headquarters in the capital Wednesday.
He added quickly: “However, the investigation is still going on, and, if proof against Abul Hossain is found, he would be indicted.”
The ACC chief’s statement came a day after the World Bank uploaded on its website the final investigation report of its external panel, which expressed dissatisfaction over the exclusion of Hossain by the ACC in its Padma bridge graft case despite what the panel said, “evidence of his involvement”.
The three-member panel, headed by Luis Moreno Ocampo, former prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, upheld its view that the ex-communication minister was involved in conspiracy of corruption, raising questions over why an influential ruling party politician was not included in the case.
Newly appointed WB Country Director Johannes Zutt handed over the panel’s report to the government on June 11.
Refuting the World Bank’s argument that as the head of the ministry, any corruption could not have been done without his knowledge, Rahman said Wednesday that Hossain was not necessarily involved in the graft.
“The World Bank initially made allegations against prime minister’s economic adviser Moshiur Rahman, but the final report does not include his name,” the ACC chief said.
Terming the current ACC law “ineffective”, Rahman said: “The current anti-corruption law does not allow the ACC to arrest anyone or seize any property during investigation.”
“As a result, criminals often manage to escape, or evidences are destroyed,” he reiterated.
The lengthy process of the judicial system has made the ACC a toothless tiger, Rahman insisted.
Stay orders passed in connection with numerous cases restrict the ACC from making headway into those, he said.
Asked why no politician was indicted during his tenure, Rahman said, “None was indicted as the ACC did not receive any definite allegation against a lawmaker or minister.”
The outgoing chairman is scheduled to leave the office after a four-year tenure on June 23, according to the ACC office.