ACC ordinance challenged in High Court

Staff Correspondent, NewAge, August 4, 2008. Dhaka, Bangladesh

The legality of the ordinance promulgated on April 28, 2007 bringing about changes in the Anti-Corruption Commission Act was challenged in the High Court on Sunday.
   Supreme Court lawyer Ahsanul Karim filed the writ petition challenging the legality of the Anti-Corruption Commission (Amendment) Ordinance 2008.
   

The petition is likely to be heard by the High Court bench of Justice Khademul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Mashuque Hossain Ahmed today, Ahsanul told reporters after filing the petition.
 The petitioner said the military-controlled interim government had the ordinance promulgated by the president giving more muscle to the commission in violation of the constitution as the caretaker government cannot make any ordinance not directly related to the holding of elections.
   

The Anti-Corruption Commission (Amendment) Ordinance was promulgated empowering any officer of the commission to arrest anyone on suspicion of corruption without any warrant and even before filing of a case against the person.
   The ordinance also changed the Anti-Corruption Commission Act, declaring any offence under the act cognisable and non-bailable, meaning that no graft suspect arrested or sued by the commission could be granted bail.
   

The ordinance also empowered the commission to give ex post facto approval of the action taken by any officer of the commission between February 7 and February 24, 2007 without its prior approval.
   

The law was so amended to ratify the action, including notifying 50 corruption suspects asking them to submit wealth statements, taken by the then secretary of the commission during the period, when no commissioner was there.
   

The ordinance removed the requirement of the commission’s approval for preliminary inquiry or investigation of any graft case, but such an approval would be needed before the submission of the charge sheet.

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