through immoral, improper and illegitimatemeans”(Waris and Latif, 2013). Black money is
more aptly deﬁned, linkingwith corruption and other illegal activities, as the:
[...] money illegally obtained through political and/or bureaucratic corruption, bribery at all
levels of the government, semi-government, autonomous or semi-autonomous oﬃces or
organisations, as well as money amassed by businesspeople through smuggling, black marketing,
shady deals, proﬁteering, money amassed by labour leaders, student leaders, through extortion –
and especially, money amassed by functionaries of the ruling government party and its various
organs, and their families, relatives and cronies (Waris and Latif, 2013).
Corruption is one of the ways of “grabbing”black money, which is laundered to hide its
origins. Thus, blackmoney, corruption and money laundering are interrelated.
Successive governments of Bangladesh have been allowingblack money holders (BMHs)
to whiten their “ill-gotten”money in different ways, such as investing in securities and real
estate markets, claiming that the whitening opportunity will help boost the national
economy. However, no credible evidence is available tosupport that the avowed objectiveof
boostingnational economy by granting amnestyto such wrongdoers has been ever achieved.
Contrarily,research demonstrates otherwisethat such opportunitiesto invest black money in
securities and real estate markets have witnessed no positive impacts on the markets
(Solaiman, 2016,2014). Instead, the opportunities have furthered corruption and facilitated
money laundering making the country world champion in corruption for consecutively ﬁve
years (2001-2005) in the yearly corruption perception index (CPI) of Transparency
International (TI), a German-based anti-corruption organisation (Staff Correspondent, 2005).
Taking advantageof such persistent amnesties, corruption graduallypermeates all levels of
society in the country. The situation is so intractable that the Chief Justice of Bangladesh
publicly pronounced that “if Tk 100 is allocatedfor any development purpose in the country,
Tk 40 is spent and Tk 60 is stolen”(Staff Reporter,2017a, 2017b).
All opposition political parties have always opposed such legalisation of illegal money,
and sometimes even ﬁnance ministershave openly admitted the unfairness in grantingsuch
amnesties. Nonetheless, the successive governments had succumbed to invisible pressures
at the time of drafting annual national budgets for decades.The debate about black money
is revived every year when members of civil societies, leading economists and various
organisations, such as Transparency International-Bangladesh (TIB) (FE Reporter, 2017),
sternly oppose this indemnity.This disapproval is voiced against the unjustiﬁeddemand of
vested quarters organisedunder the banner of real estate business (FE Report,2017a,2017b)
and stock brokers during the pre-budgetparley that this opportunity be given to BMHs. The
case is somewhat differentthis year, in that the Anti-Corruption Commission of Bangladesh
(ACC) itself has formally suggested the government to give one more chance to BMHs to
whiten their black money “through purchasing land and apartments to discourage
corruption”(Uddin,2017a, 2017b).By contrast, previously the ACC along with the National
Human Rights Commission of Bangladesh intensely opposed such a discriminatory
treatment of BMHs by arguing that it contravenes the national constitution and
international obligations, as well as the laws governing anti-money laundering and
corruption, as discussedshortly below.
It is to be borne in mind that once corruption is tolerated in one area, the evil is likely to
spread out in all other areas of regulation in our society. Thus, the ACC’s unusual solicitation
in favour of “predators”provides impetus for this paper. However, despite such disputed
advocacy by the ACC, it is commendable that its current chairman has already demonstrated
greater activism than his predecessors in combating corruption, and this has generated public
conﬁdence to some extent that corrupt practices and resultant money laundering will gradually
reduce if the proactive moves continue to operate. Positive effects of the ACC’s proactivity are