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Finance Minister: Do not have any information on money launderers

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal says he has no information on the people involved in siphoning off money from Bangladesh.

“I do not launder money abroad. How should I know who are involved,” he told the parliament on Saturday before calling on the opposition MPs to give him names.

His remarks came in response to opposition lawmakers’ statements during a discussion over a bill tabled in the house.

Thousands of crores are being laundered abroad and default loans have surpassed Tk 1 lakh crore, opposition MPs said on Saturday before demanding answers from the finance minister.

“I ask you to give me the names of the money launderers. I do not siphon off money abroad and I believe you are not among them. So, how should I know unless you tell me,” Finance Minister Kamal told opposition MPs.

His comments evoked a response from the opposition, to which Kamal said, “You tell me. Give me the list of money launderers.”

 A lawmaker was heard saying that it was the finance minister’s job to say who are the money launderers.

Kamal said then, “No, the finance minister can’t say it. I know as much as you know. I have said time and again that I have no information.

“Please come up with a list.”

Earlier in the session, Jatiya Party MP Mujibul Haque Chunnu said that default loans now stand over Tk 1 lakh crore.

“There are allegations that politicians and bureaucrats are among those who have siphoned off money in Canada and several other countries. Such allegations taint the image of politicians and public servants,” he said before demanding the formation of a bank commission to find money launderers.

BNP lawmaker Harunur Rashid claimed that Finance Minister Kamal evades their questions.

“We ask a lot of things to the finance minister, but he evades those. Thousands of crores have been embezzled through e-commerce scams. The finance and commerce ministers say they are not liable. Then who’s liable,” he said.

BNP’s Mosharraf Hossain said that those who have defaulted thousands of crores in bank loans are having the time of their lives.

“And the poor people have no access to credit. Farmers are hounded (by the banks) for meagre amount of defaulted loans. There have been no measures against those who defaulted thousands of crores,” he said.

BNP lawmaker Rumeen Farhana said that the finance minister seldom speaks in parliament. “It would be an understatement saying that he speaks less. He seldom speaks.”

According to her, the official figures show that defaulted loans stands at Tk 1 lakh crore, but experts said that it’s something around Tk 4.5 lakh crore.

“We hear that politicians and public servants launder money. If the finance minister can clear us who siphoned off how much, then the honest politicians and bureaucrats can be relieved,” said MP Rumeen. 

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