The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), the country’s graft fighters, are now faced with a new kind of a challenge – fighting fakes promising to acquit targets of graft charges against them.
According to the sources at ACC intelligence unit, the gang members in the guise of ACC officials are threatening people over the phone, saying that there was an inquiry into their wealth which could land them in trouble.
The frauds introducing themselves as the commission’s director, director general, deputy directors or assistant directors’ extorted money from people.
The intelligence unit also found that some of the gang members are also extorting money from the people through lobbying in various offices, introducing themselves as relatives or posing as close associates of ACC top officials and employees.
This sort of cheating came to light recently following complaints received by the anti-graft body, while the commission has already arrested a number of fake ACC officials.
ACC officials said over the last few months, the anti-graft watchdog has received many such allegations through letters and over ACC hotline 106 and the commission also issued several notices alerting the people in this regard.
The forgery gangs are active in swindling money from the people by using the names and reputation of the ACC for long in the country. The swindlers are extorting money from innocent people and graft suspects through fake SIM cards, bank accounts and now through bKash account, they said
Talking to daily sun, ACC spokesperson Pranab Kumer Bhattacharjee said “We have received such allegations and we have already arrested a number of frauds in the recent time.”
He said “When we receive any such allegations; the commission is conducting drive and trying to bring the frauds under law.”
Bhattacharjee also said “If anyone receives such phone calls or threats he/she should immediately bring the matter to the notice of ACC.”
Following information of ACC, on February 1, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested two fraudsters—-Anisur Rahman alias Babul, 36, of Bou Bazar and Yasin Talukdar, 26, of Nabipur—- from the capital’s Hazaribagh area. They have been introducing themselves as senior ACC officials.
RAB arrested them along with 21 mobile phones and 26 unregistered SIM cards with fake registration and bKash accounts used to swindle government officials.
After the arrest, Mohiuddin Faruque, commander of the elite forces said that “The two fraudsters swindled about 500 government officials and extorted at least Tk40-45 lakh in the last five years through giving threats of filling graft charges.”
Following allegation by a sufferer, on November 7, ACC intelligence unit caught one named Md Foyes Uddin from Hotel Rajdhani in Gulistan in the capital, while taking bribe from a land official introducing himself as ACC official.
Fraudster Foyes, a resident of Chandanaish upazila of Chittagong demanded Tk 7 lakh from Md Abdul Jalil, assistant land officer of Khakanda Union land office in Araihazar upazila in Narayanganj.
Introducing himself as ACC official, he demanded the money saying the ladn official that an allegation of corruption came at ACC and he is the inquiring the charges.
He threatened Jalil that if he did not give Tk 7 lakh, then charge sheet will be given against him and he will be dismissed from job for the corruption.
On January 24, an ACC team arrested a fake ACC official named Hasan Munna form Naya Paltan in the capital through set up a trap as he demanded ransom from a government official, introducing himself as personal assistant of ACC public relations officer Pranab Kumar Bhatacharjee.
Following allegation of intelligence unit of ACC, RAB on February 14, arrested another fake ACC official named Raju Mia from Siddirganj area of Narayanganj and a case was also filed against the fraudster with the local police station.
When asked, ACC Chairman Iqbal Mahmood “The cheats through introducing ACC official is a serious offences. Whenever the commission receives such allegations, we take it seriously and immediately action was taken.”
Mentioning that there is no provision in the ACC’s act to communicate with the accused over phone, he said “We have asked our officials not to communicate with any of the graft suspects or accused who allegations are under inquiry through over phone.
“If any official needs to contact with the accused he/she has to serve a written notice to the address of the person against whom allegations are under inquiry, he added.
He urged to submit complaints through ACC hotline 106 if anyone seeks money introducing him as ACC official.