'Bleak prospect for repatriation of siphoned off money'

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Dhaka, Sept 29 (UNI) Although Bangladesh formally requested the World Bank to help recover the siphoned off money from abroad, Finance Advisor Dr Mirza Azizul Islam sees bleak prospect of repatriation of the black money.

The Bangladesh Bank has requested the central bank of Malaysia and sought their help as the military-backed caretaker government announced war on corrutpion.

''We're continuing our efforts, but we have to be practical.

We should not expect too much,'' he told reporters on his arrival from a conference in Manila.

The Advisor had gone there to attend a two-day international conference of top global and regional trade and finance officials on 'Mobilizing Aid for Trade: Focus Asia and the Pacific' jointly organised by Asian Development Bank and World Trade Organisation (WTO).

''It's a complex process and time consuming,'' he said, replying to a question about the prospect for repatriation of black money from abroad. The caretaker government that assumed office on January 12 this year under the state of emergency believed that some former ministers and MPs of the previous government smuggled out huge money and deposited in foreign banks.

''Our claim must have specific evidence that our money had been smuggled out to other countries and that the money was illegal income,'' the Advisor said.

''We should also consider that they would look into their losses. Our claim is not enough and that they'll follow their own laws,'' he added.

Caretaker government's Chief Advisor Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed while delivering a lecture at Asia Society in New York also sought support from the international community to help recover the money kept in foreign banks.

Mr Ahmed said his government would make corruption costly for politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats alike.

The government rounded up more than 200 former Ministers, MPs, businessmen and government bureaucrats on charges of corruption.

Many of them are facing trials in special anti-corruption courts.

Two former Prime Ministers BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia and Awami League President Sheikh Hasina have also been arrested on charges of 'extortion' and 'corruption' while they had been in power. Khaleda's two sons were also arrested on charges of corruption.

UNI

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