Several groups of con artists have been serving notices to people under the guise of the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) for the last few years, with the felony experiencing an upsurge in recent months.
The deceivers make calls over mobile phone or serve notices to targeted people – including high-ranking government officials and businesses – telling them there are various allegations of corruption against them.
The tricksters first introduce themselves to the victims as the Deputy Director, Director General, or Secretary of the ACC before accusing the victims of acquiring vast amounts of wealth in illegal ways. Later, they demand huge amounts of money from them saying that they will be freed of their charges if they pay up.
“ACC has been getting reports of such incidents for several years. The number of incidents had increased over the last year, but this year it has skyrocketed. Now we get two or three allegations every week, especially when the real ACC emphasizes the fact that it has big fish to book,” ACC secretary Dr. Md. Shamsul Arefin told the Dhaka Tribune.
“We are trying to bring such tricksters to trial, and for this we need the support of the media. We request people to be alert and to not be afraid of getting phone calls. Members of the ACC would never call someone over the phone in order to investigate,” he also said.
Mohammad Abu Zafar, Executive Engineer of the Public Works Department in Barguna, told Dhaka Tribune: “I received several calls over mobile phone from people pretending to be ACC officials. A man gave me a notice in March of this year, charging me with earning illegal wealth. The cheater also said he had a file against me with details of my corrupt activities, mentioning that it would be sent to his superior.
“I subsequently informed the ACC authority about the matter and gave them the number. They naturally denied that any such call had been made by the real ACC. That is how I learned that the person was a cheater,” Abu Zafar added.
Zafar also added: “Before this incident, I got another call from an unknown person named Sirajul Islam. He also claimed to be an ACC official, but I understood that he was a scammer. They did not call me again.”
According to ACC sources, a notice reached the ACC on March 28, which was signed by deputy director Jahirul Alam. However, there is no one by this name.
On March 21, a fake order was served to Engineer Kazi Firoz Hasan of the Public Works Department. Signed by Deputy Director Abul Hossain and Deputy Director Md Shahidullah Khan, the order mentioned that Kazi Firoz Hasan earned huge amounts of illegal wealth. There is no one under these designations at the anti graft watchdog, ACC sources also mentioned.
ACC Assistant Director (Public Relations) Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya said, “Several groups misuse ACC power by using its name. Sometimes they use mobile phones to intimidate unsuspecting victims into paying up. Several of these cheaters have been detained by law enforcement in the past.
“If someone demands money illegally by calling over the phone under the guise of an ACC official, we request the victim to call director Mir Mohammad Jainul Abedin Shibly at 9352552 on landline and 01711644675 on mobile phone,” he also added.
In another incident, on March 19, Prof Dr Mohammad Ali Khan, Principal & Project Director of Establishment of Tangail Medical College, received a fake order apparently signed by an ACC Secretary named Shamsul Arefin.
The source also said on March 12, a notice was sent to Dr Mohammad Ali Khan, asking him to submit a statement concerning his wealth to the ACC. This document was signed by Deputy Director Abdullah Al Mamun, which ACC again claims is a fictional character.
ACC Chairman Iqbal Mahmood recently said at an emergency meeting called in this regard that the anti-graft organization had sent several letters to the authorities concerned in order for them to take proper action against the con groups, with the main concern being that such scams will tarnish the ACC’s reputation.
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