An FBI agent yesterday testified in the Tk-20.41-crore money-laundering case filed against BNP chief Khaleda Zia’s son Tarique Rahman and his business partner Giasuddin Al Mamun.
This is for the first time that a US Federal Bureau of Investigation agent has testified before a court in Bangladesh. The testimony is expected to be a turning point in the case since the agent has effectively said Tarique laundered money through using Mamun’s account in a Singapore bank.
Debra Laprevotte, a supervisory special agent of the FBI, narrated before a Dhaka court how she had tracked down the money allegedly laundered by BNP Senior Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahman and Mamun to a bank account in Singapore.
She said the documents recovered from the Singapore bank include detailed records of money transfers and payments made from the account. It also had photocopies of Tarique and Mamun’s passports, which were submitted when the two applied for credit cards from the bank.
“The first credit card on the account was a Visa credit card in the name of Mr Mamun,” she told the court, adding, “…There is another credit card in the name of Tarique Rahman.”
Giasuddin Al Mamun, 47, stood in the dock at the back of the courtroom throughout the two-hour-long proceedings yesterday. Tarique Rahman remains a fugitive.
After Laprevotte’s testimony, the judge of Special Judge’s Court-3 asked Mamun whether he would like to cross-examine Laprevotte to which Mamun shook his head to say no. His lawyer had earlier left the court protesting Laprevotte’s testimony.
When the proceedings began at 11:20pm, barrister Fakhrul Islam, Mamun’s lawyer, opposed Laprevotte’s testifying. He submitted a petition seeking adjournment of the hearing on the ground that the witness had not been mentioned in the charge sheet and that additional witnesses could only testify after all witnesses mentioned in the charge sheet had given their depositions.
Opposing the petition, Anti-Corruption Commission chief counsel Anisul Haq said there was no legal barrier to having testimony from any additional witnesses. He argued that Section-540 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) says that the court may summon any person as a witness or re-examine any person, even if that person was not summoned before, if his or her evidence is essential to the just decision of the case.
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