The High Court has expressed dismay at the slow investigation of the Anti-Corruption Com-mission (ACC) in graft cases.
An HC division bench comprising Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Mohiuddin Shamim criticised the ACC in the full text of verdict on a case on Monday.
The HC opined that ACC officials are busier with recovery of money from the accused than to expedite the case.
According to the case, Kurigram Rural Electrification Board executive engineer Md Mominur Rahman and assistant director Md Zahirul Islam were arrested during underhand dealings on July 26, 2011.
Jahangir Alam, assistant director of ACC’s integrated office in Rangpur, filed a graft case against the duo the same day.
On June 12, 2019, Special Judge’s Court of Rangpur exonerated Zahirul Islam from the case following his petition. Being aggrieved, the ACC filed a revision petition with the HC.
Acting on the petition, the HC initially issued a rule, asking the authorities concerned to explain as to why the lower court verdict exonerating Zahirul Islam from the case shall not be scrapped.
The HC also asked for completion of the trial of the case within one year or at the earliest.
In the 72-page verdict, the HC said the ACC is not taking any action against the officials who are failing to complete investigation within the deadline.
“We have noticed that many cases were filed for embezzlement of money through corruption in the banks, financial institutions and in many government departments but no positive steps are being taken to expedite the proceedings of inquiry, investigation and trial as well. No satisfactory explanations are being given by the Commission. The question arises-is the Commission above the law? The answer is certainly ‘no’. The functions of the commission have been briefly narrated in the ACC Act, 2004 and in the ACC Rules, 2007. The commission should strict to its own legal position in preventing the corruptions and corrupt practices prevalent in the country.”
About the role of the commission, the HC said the role of the ACC has been defined in the statute itself and it cannot exercise any power which is not provided in the ACC Act, 2004 and the ACC Rules, 2007.
“The ACC should strictly adhere to the procedures and timeframe prescribed for inquiry/investigation as well as the procedure in according sanction under section 32 of the ACC Act, 2004 and Rule 15 of the ACC Rules, 2007 to bring the accused to justice,” the HC added.
In its verdict, the HC also asked the ACC to conduct the prosecution case efficiently for securing justice so that the corruptions and corrupt practices in the country are stopped and rooted out.
“If the act/order/activ- ity/inaction of the commission becomes contrary to the purpose and object of the ACC Act, 2004 in preventing the corruption and corrupt practices in the country and if the commission remains silent in the matter of taking proper and positive steps in preventing corruption and corrupt practices in the country, all the effort and toil of the ACC and the purpose and object of the ACC Act, 2004 in preventing corruption would be frustrated,” the HC observed.