Money laundering is one of the country’s much-talk-about issues and goes unbridled over the years with ease. A group of people is siphoning off huge amounts of money in different ways. In the recent incident, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has detained five people for laundering about Tk one billion through Bigo Live and Likee apps – two popular streaming platforms owned by a Singapore-based Bigo Technology. That the law enforcement agency has unearthed the unheard-of way of laundering money and arrested some people involved in it is indeed praiseworthy. But there are hundreds of criminals of such kind who are yet to get punished.
According to several reports of different national and international NGOs, the amount that is laundered from Bangladesh every year is equivalent to almost 20-25 per cent of the country's GDP. Investment of this huge amount of money inside the country could contribute to our national economy to a great extent. The amount would be enough to speed up our economic growth and thus make the path towards development smooth.Despite being the first country in South Asia to enact Money Laundering prevention Act in 2002, Bangladesh could neither control capital flight nor bring the laundered money back. As far as controlling money laundering and bringing siphoned money back are concerned, our success is still limited to using tough words against money laundering and corruption, which is hardly translated into action. Many new names are included in the list every now and then, but instance of bringing the culprits to book is rare. On the other hand, the country is still struggling to eradicated corruption – the main source of siphoned money.
Preventing money laundering is a must for several reasons like enhancing our economic strength, eradicating corruption, establishing rule of law and most of all, encouraging people to lead an honest life. At the same time, bringing back laundered money will ensure an environment where culprits would have to think twice before getting involved in the misdeeds. Therefore, the authorities concerned should speed up their activities to stop money laundering and that should be proven by their acts, not by their words.