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16 June, 2019 12:33:15 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 16 June, 2019 01:48:09 PM

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Over 500 ACC cases bogged down by stay orders

MUHAMMAD YEASIN, Dhaka
Over 500 ACC cases bogged down by stay orders

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has not been able to proceed with the trials in at least 545 graft cases filed against top government officials, businessmpeople and political leaders on account of stay orders issued by the High Court (HC). Official ACC data updated up to April this year show that among the 545 cases, trial proceedings of 285 cases, which were filed under the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), were stayed till April this year while the trial proceedings of 260 cases, which were filed under the defunct Bureau of Anti-Corruption (BAC), also were stayed till April this year.

The government established the Anti-Corruption Commission in 2004 by passing an Act that abolished the then Bureau of Anti-Corruption (BAC).

Talking to this correspondent, Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya, the public relations officer of the ACC, said that the commission has kept the case management system in two ways: one is under the name of ACC while the other is under the name of BAC.

“We called all those cases BAC cases in which allegations were received during the time of the BAC.

After receiving the allegations, the commission conducted investigations and filed the cases against the wrongdoers in line with the allegations. These cases are called BAC cases,” he said.

According to the data, till April this year, a total of 573 BAC cases were under trial in different courts, while the trial proceedings of 260 cases have been stayed by the High Court order.

On the other hand, till April this year, a total of 2,834 ACC cases were under trial in different special judge’s courts, and trial proceedings in 285 were stayed by the High Court, as per the ACC’s official data.

Talking to this correspondent, the ACC’s lawyer, advocate Khurshid Alam Khan, said the trial proceedings of a number of cases have been stayed following the High Court order.

“We have already submitted applications before the High Court seeking the final hearing and disposal of the cases,” he said.

He also said that most of the cases, in which trial proceedings have been stayed following the High Court order, have already been included in the hearing list in the meantime. Some of the cases have already been partly heard by the High Court, he added.

In response to a query, Khan said that soon after the filing of the cases by the ACC, the accused tried to stay the trial proceedings in several ways, such as by filing petitions seeking stay orders and quashing of the cases. This has resulted in delays in the disposal of the cases following injunctions and the pile-up of pending cases.

The sources also said that the number

of stay orders issued by the HC has increased over the years.

In 2010, a total of 1,205 cases were under trial, and trial proceedings in 106 were stayed by the higher court.

In 2011, a total of 1,642 cases were under trial in different special judge’s courts, and trial proceedings were stayed by the High Court in 312 cases. A total of 69 cases were disposed of, in which conviction took place in 14 and acquittals in 55 cases, recording a conviction rate of 20 per cent.

In 2012, a total of 2,016 cases were under trial. Of these, 411 were stayed by the HC, 132 were disposed of. Convictions occurred in 42 cases, while the accused were acquitted in 90 cases.

In 2013, a total of 2,380 cases were under trial, but 350 were stayed by the HC. At least 183 cases were disposed of, with convictions in 67 cases and acquittals in 116.

In 2014, the number of cases under trial was 2,724. The HC issued stay orders in 414. A total of 159 cases were disposed of, with punishment being meted out in 73 and the accused being let off in 86 cases, according to the ACC sources.

In 2015, a total of 3,097 cases were under trial, but the HC issued stay orders in 437 cases. Trials in 188 cases were completed; the accused were convicted in 69 cases and acquitted in 119.

In 2016, a total of 2,717 cases were under trial, where the trial proceedings in 400 were stayed by the High Court. A total of 214 cases were disposed of, in which the accused were convicted in 116 cases and acquitted in 98.

In 2017, a total of 2,803 cases were under trial in different courts. Trial proceedings in 357 cases were stayed by the HC. A total of 237 cases were disposed of, in which the accused were convicted in 161 cases and acquittals were made in 76.

In 2018, a total of 2,800 cases were under trial, wherein the trial proceedings in 306 were stayed by the High Court. A total of 209 cases were disposed of, in which the accused were convicted in 131 cases and acquitted in 78.

ACC officials said the conviction rate in the cases filed by the now defunct Bureau of Anti-Corruption (BAC) was very poor. But the conviction rate has increased in recent times.

The ACC’s Khurshid Alam Khan echoed the same view, saying that it is very good that the conviction ratio of the ACC cases as well as the disposal ratio have increased at this time.

Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) executive director, Dr Iftekharuzzaman, said the ACC was now trying to work more responsibly than the earlier body. The commission should maintain the pace of its work to eradicate corruption from the country.

Dr Iftekharuzzaman said the ACC would have to speed up its efforts to look into major corruption cases filed against high-level officials or political leaders. People’s confidence in the commission will increase if it strengthens its drives against powerful corrupt persons, he added.

ACC counsel Khurshid Alam Khan said they were trying to dispose of cases stayed by the High Court, through the final hearing of the rules issued by the HC with the stay orders.

“I hoped the High Court may able to dispose of all the ACC and BAC cases within six months after holding final hearings on the rule. If the HC disposes of the cases, the number of the stay orders would also decrease. Then the goal of the ACC to punish the corrupt would be achieved,” he added.

IK

 

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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