The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), the country’s graft fighters, is now faced with a new kind of a challenge -- fighting the fake ACC men, who promise to acquit their hunts of graft charges.
Introducing themselves as ACC officials, different gangs are threatening people over the phone, saying that there was an inquiry into their wealth or other graft allegations 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 promising to release them form the graft charges, said sources in the ACC intelligence unit.
It 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 concerned officials of the anti-graft body, while the commission has already arrested a number of fake ACC officials and took legal action against them.
ACC officials said the anti-graft watchdog has received many such allegations through letters and over ACC hotline 106 and the commission also issued several notices alerting 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 people and graft suspects through bKash account, promising them an acquittal from the graft allegations.
ACC Chairman Iqbal Mahmood said, “These fraudsters sometimes call people over phones and threaten them to file corruption cases if they refuse to bribe them. But there is no scope of any ACC officials to release anyone or provide charge sheet against any person as per their single decision.”“The cheats introduce themselves as ACC officials. Whenever the commission receives such allegations, we take it seriously and immediately go for legal action.”
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 over phone with any of the graft suspects or accused whose allegations are under inquiry.”
“If any officials need to contact the accused, they have to serve a written notice to the address of the persons against whom allegations are under inquiry,” he added.
ACC chief warned of taking tough action against the fraudsters and urged people to submit complaints using ACC hotline 106 if anyone seeks money introducing them as ACC officials.
Talking to daily sun, ACC spokesperson Pranab Kumer Bhattacharjee said the commission on Tuesday in a statement again asked people to immediately contact its head office in the capital if anyone demands any bribe from them introducing them as ACC officials.
He said ACC’s concerned officials informed the commission’s chairman that an organised quarter is making phone calls to businesspeople or public officials, claiming that the commission is probing graft allegations against them and demand money to avoid probe.
Pranab also said the commission asked the victims to contact ACC Director (Intelligence) Mir Zainul Abedin Shibly over phone 01711644675 and ACC Director (Public Relations) Pranab Kumar Bhattacharjee over phone 01716463276.
On December 8, last year, ACC arrested two fraudsters—Md Din Islam and Nipa Begum—from the capital’s Keraniganj on charges of demanding money from a person.
Introducing themselves as ACC officials, the two arrestees demanded money from the person, assuring him of release from the graft case.
Based on information provided by ACC, on February 1, last year, 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.
RAB said, “The two fraudsters swindled about 500 government officials and extorted at least Tk40-Tk45 lakh in the last five years through giving threats to file graft charges.”
On January 24, last year, an ACC team arrested a fake ACC official named Hasan Munna form Naya Paltan in the capital as he demanded money from a government official, introducing himself as personal assistant of ACC public relations officer.
Following allegation of intelligence unit of ACC, RAB on February 14, last year, arrested another fake ACC official named Raju Mia from Siddirganj area of Narayanganj. A case was also filed against the fraudster with the local police station.
Earlier on November 7, 2018, 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 Tk7 lakh from Md Abdul Jalil, assistant land officer of Khakanda Union land office in Araihazar upazila in Narayanganj.