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Graft lawsuits stayed by HC still high

SAJIBUR RAHMAN | May 27, 2023 00:00:00

The number of graft cases stayed by the High Court (HC) still remains high despite a determined effort by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for faster resolution.

The graft-buster could not move with the trial of 431 high-profile lawsuits as the higher court gave stay orders on them until March 2023.

The HC stayed the trial of 512 corruption cases until November 2019, according to an ACC report.

The cases were filed against public servants, public representatives, politicians, bankers and tradespeople.

Of the 431 cases, trial proceedings of 247 were halted until March 2023.

Similarly, the trial of 184 cases, which were filed under the now-defunct Bureau of Anti-Corruption, was also put on hold until the period in question.

According to data available with the corruption watchdog, a total of 565 cases were shelved by the higher court as of 2018.

The number of under-trial ACC cases stood at 2,915 until March 2023 while it was 405 under the now-defunct bureau, disclosed the data.

The conviction rate in the ACC graft cases reached 68.60 per cent until March while it stood at 23.08 per cent in the cases filed by the bureau.

Trial courts across the country settled only 86 corruption cases during the period under review.

A total of 59 people were convicted in those cases from January to March 2023 while 22 got acquittal.

Talking to the FE, Dr Badiul Alam Majumdar cited ACC lawyers' lack of expertise and an expected level of competence as reasons behind this logjam of stayed cases.

He suggested that the courts concerned remain vigilant so that vested interests cannot misuse and abuse trial proceedings.

ACC senior prosecutor Khurshid Alam Khan said the graft-busting agency is vigilant to expedite trial proceedings and settle the cases as early as possible.

The Supreme Court lawyer hoped the cases would be settled without delay as they are actively engaged in the legal battle to finish the trial.

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