The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed two separate cases against 17 people, including two former people's representatives in Chattogram, for giving fake national ID cards and birth certificates to four Rohingyas, three of whom were women.
A ward councillor of Chattogram City Corporation, a former chairman of the Union Parishad, and five employees of the election office are among the accused.
Deputy Assistant Director Md Sharif Uddin of the ACC Integrated District Office in Chattogram filed the two cases as a plaintiff.
He said the two incidents, one in Patharghata Ward 34 of Chattogram city, and the other in Mirzapur Union of Hathazari Upazila, were filed as two separate cases on Monday and Tuesday.
On 18 August 2019, a woman named Lucky Akhter went to the Chattogram District Election Office to collect her national identity card. But the officers grew suspicious seeing a 17-digit number on her card. Later, in the face of interrogation, Akhter admitted that her real name was Ramzan Bibi and that she came to Bangladesh from Myanmar in 2014.
On Tuesday, the ACC filed a case against 11 people, including five employees of the Chattogram Election Office, for helping Akhter with the forging of a fake national identity card, a nationality certificate, and a birth registration certificate.
According to the case statement, Akhter received her nationality certificate from Mirzapur Union Parishad-3 of Hathazari Upazila on 24 July 2019, on which there is a signature of then Union Parishad Chairman, Md Nurul Absar. Akhter later applied for a passport with the NID and nationality certificate. Her two daughters applied for passports the same way.
ACC investigation found that Akhter was not legally registered with the Hathazari Upazila Election Office. The ACC charged the accused under section 5 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act of 1947.
In the other case, a Rohingya woman named Ohida received her nationality certificate and birth certificate on 29 September 2019 from then Ward Councillor of Patharghata Ward 34, Mohammad Ismail. Later on 11 November of the same year, she applied for a passport at the Regional Passport Office in Panchlaish.
When Ohida's fingerprints matched up in the Rohingya Refugee Camp database, officials at the passport office handed over Ohida and her passport broker Sirajul, to the police.
According to the case statement, Ismail Bari, former councillor of Patharghata Ward 34, and , birth registration assistant Subarna Dutta, colluded in an abuse of power to provide Rohingyas fake Bangladeshi identities.
It is to be noted that Ismail, a former councillor, was arrested by police on 27 January on charges of violence at a polling station on city corporation election day, where he was defeated.
Mohammad Nurul Absar, former chairman of Mirzapur union in Hathazari Upazila, was also sacked in 2020, accused of irregularities in government relief distribution during the first phase of the nationwide lockdown.