Thursday, August 26, 2010

Govt to challenge HC ruling on money return

The government is considering to appeal against the High Court rule which had ordered returning money confiscated by the military-installed interim government between 2007 and 2008.
The High Court on Tuesday asked the government to return around Tk 3 billion to two companies in the next three months which it held was obtained illegally.
The last caretaker government had realised Tk 2.37 billion from Kafeli Dated Tea & Land Limited and Tk 0.60 billion from S Alam Steel Limited through issuing a total of 54 pay-orders in 2007 and 2008.
"If there's any opportunity, we will appeal against the decision," finance minister AMA Muhith said Thursday. The minister has long been maintaining his stance of not returning the confiscated funds.
"These [money] are the outcome of corruption and laundering, so I think there's no need to return these funds," he said while speaking to the press after a meeting at the Secretariat.
According to the documents, there were no options to return this money, added Muhith.
He said that the confiscated money has been debited to the government's consolidated funds and budgetary allocations require that these funds are made available.
"And I have not kept any contingency plans for anything otherwise."
Muhith reiterated that he does not see any point of returning these funds.
Replying to a query, the minister said that the government would examine the ruling and decide upon their next step.
"If we find any weak point [in the ruling], then we would go for appeal."
In its judgment, the bench of justices Mamnoon Rahman and Syed Afsar Jahan said the government had no power to do anything beyond the constitution and that it has to apply its power constitutionally."
It pointed to article 81, 82 and 83 of the constitution which set out clear ground as to when money can be exacted by the government.
So, the court said, the realisation of the money from the two institutions was illegal and beyond the government's jurisdiction."

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