ANTI-CORRUPTION OR ANTI-BRIBERY LAWS IN BANGLADESH
At the present time, corruption has become one of the most devastating problems in Bangladesh. According to the reports of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), Bangladesh is one of the most corrupted countries in the World. The main reason behind such corruption in Bangladesh is the lack of proper administrative functioning of the government, and also the 'quick get rich' trend, which has been developed among the people due to the lack of patriotism. When corruption becomes as deep and wide as in Bangladesh, it can lead to a sense of despair and disempowerment among the people, who are deprived of their basic rights and human security because of pervasive corruption and governance failure. It is a major impediment to development and democratic governance. It weakens the key institutions of the national integrity system and prevents the rule of law. Corruption erodes public trust in government and breeds injustice.
To tackle the corruption problems the Government of Bangladesh established an independent Commission named Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to prevent corruption and other corrupt practices in the country and to conduct inquiry and investigation for other specific offenses and to enact other relevant matters by virtue of section 3 of Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2004 (ACCA 2004). In accordance with section 17 of the ACCA 2004 ACC may inquire and investigate any allegation of corruption on its own initiative, or upon an application filed by an aggrieved person or by any person on his/her behalf, file and conduct cases under this Act, carry out research on the prevention of corruption and submit recommendations to the President regarding the actions to be taken on the basis of the research findings, promote the values of honesty and integrity in order to prevent corruption and take measures to build up mass awareness against corruption, arrange seminars, symposiums, workshops etc. on subjects falling within the jurisdiction of the commission.
FM Associates | How to tackle Anti-Corruption or Bribery laws in Bangladesh
One of the loophole of this war against the corruption, is the ‘Anti Corruption Commission (Amendment) Bill 2013’ which has passed on 10 November, 2013 whereby a new provision has been inserted for taking prior government approval to file corruption case against public servants. The amendment proposed a new provision in the section 32 of the ACC (Anti Corruption Commission) Act 2004 under which the commission must follow the Rule 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) against a judge, magistrate or a civil servant. According to the Rule 197 of the CrPC, when any person who is a judge within the meaning of section 19 of the Penal Code, or when any magistrate, or when any public servant who is not removable from his office save by or with the sanction of the government, is accused of any offence alleged to have been committed by him while acting or purporting to act in the discharge of his official duty, no court shall take cognizance of such offence except with the prior government sanction.
However on January 2014 the latest amendment was declared unconstitutional by the Hon’ble High Court of Bangladesh, as this amendment curtailing ACC’s power. Passing the judgment upon a writ petition, an HC (High Court) division bench scrapped the relevant section 32 (A) of the ACC (Amendment) Act, 2013.
In 2016 the Government of Bangladesh has enacted the Anti Corruption Commission (Amendment) Act 2016. As per the Amendment Act 2016, Section 408, 420, 462A, 462B, 466,467,468, 479, 471 and 477A of Penal Code 1860, shall not be triable under Section 28 of the ACC Act 2004 except in cases, where the alleged property is a government property, or alleged person is a government official while discharging his official duty, bank-employees or employers, employees or employers of any financial institute while discharging his official duty. As per the Amendment, any accusations under the abovementioned Sections of the Penal Code, except in case, where the alleged property is a government property, or alleged person is a government official while discharging his official duty, bank-employees or employers, employees or employers of any financial institute while discharging his official duty shall be dealt following usual procedure.
Except this ACCA 2004, the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Prevention of Corruption Act, the Penal Code and the Money Laundering Prevention Act, The Government Servant (Conduct) Rules are also playing significant roles to fight against the corruption.
FM Associates | Clientele
FM Associates, are a full service law firm. One of our core practicing areas is anti corruption law. We have a team of experienced lawyers; we have got several experiences in the area of corruption, bribery, and corporate criminal law. We have advised and worked in collaboration with the World Bank and IFC with respect to publication of several reports on the Bangladeshi laws of anti-corruption and bribery. We have assisted different foreign law firms to facilitate research on Bangladeshi anti-corruption and bribery laws for different projects (i.e. overseas corruption project of the Herbert Smith Freehills LLP). We have represented number of companies, individuals, and governmental/public organizations in the Anti-corruption Commission (ACC) with respect to several proceedings of anti-corruption and corporate criminal acts. Besides, we have represented different corporate clients with respect to corporate criminal proceedings at the Company Bench of the High Court Division, Labour Court and Appeal Tribunal, and other courts with the appropriate jurisdiction. Some of our major clients are: American Express, Associated British Foods, Baker Hughes Incorporated, Bank of America, Bank of New York Mellon, Barclays Bank PLC, BG International Limited, BP America Inc, Cerberus Capital, Citi Bank, Credit Suisse, Fidelity, Goldman Sachs & Co, JP Morgan, MasterCard International, McGraw Hill Financial Inc., Guggenheim Partners, Morgan Stanley, Royal Bank of Scotland, UBS, Wells Fargo etc.