Anti-graft blitz in Bangladesh

Released on = April 7, 2006, 2:22 am

Press Release Author = Patricia Ovemarrie, News2006

Industry = Media

Press Release Summary = The ACC had also a plan to use Rab for launching the \"storm
operation\" in different government offices to nab the bribe takers.

Press Release Body = The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in Bangladesh at long last
has launched its anti-graft blitz \"trap case drive\" against the bribe-takers. The
ACC in the first phase of its drive is urging people through advertisements in the
media to lodge complaints against corrupt government officials. The advertisement
entitled: \"The corrupts are enemies of the country and nation: Help capturing them,\"
contains ACC\'s telephone numbers and e-mail address enabling public to lodge
complaints. The ACC will start its operation after receiving complains from the
The ACC had also a plan to use Rab for launching the \"storm operation\" in different
government offices to nab the bribe takers. But the Director General of Rab did not
agree on the deployment of Rab to launch anti-corruption drive. The ACC is now
interested in associating BDR in its storm operation as alternative to Rab and has
targeted 12 government departments including police, education, lower judiciary,
health, land administration, air and land ports for operations.
The present government formed the ACC, claiming it as a landmark step in fulfilling
its election pledge of combating corruption. But the ACC and the government had been
at odds since the commission came into being one and a half years back. The ACC in
its annual report to be submitted to the President may now blame the government for
its non-cooperation in making the commission operational. The anti-graft body has
remained inactive so long mainly due to not having its organogram and rules. The
government is yet to approve these two all-important items to make the ACC
Bangladesh is now a global brand name for corruption with its ranking as the most
corruption afflicted country in the world by Transparency International for the
fifth successive year. Corruption in the country has reached new heights, making
almost all activities without it impossible. This unabated corruption has negative
impact on the country\'s economy, society and the people as a whole. It is being
suggested by the donors repeatedly that two percent of the country\'s GDP is being
eaten up by corruption alone. But formation of the ACC can fulfill a long-standing
public demand, only when it is allowed to operate independently and neutrally with
sufficient powers to investigate any sort of corruption by any people without
interference of any kind.
Bangladesh has been excluded from the list of countries selected for US assistance
to be provided through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) for 2006 due to
its endemic corruption. The World Bank has cancelled and demanded refund of Tk 6.8
crore from three projects for corruption. The international development partners of
the country on November 17, 2005 came down heavily on the government for its failure
in curbing massive corruption, for which the country is known in the world. The
development partners also issued an ultimatum to the government to truly activate
the ACC within a few weeks.
Corruption is not just taking bribes; it covers a broad spectrum of misdeeds.
Corruption has manifested itself in many bizarre forms and dimensions in our
country. The misuse of public power for private gain, for instance, is a major means
of corruption which has assumed alarming proportions in Bangladesh. So it is not an
easy task to curb corruption and it calls for concordant efforts from the
government, opposition and the civil society. Improving governance, strengthening
accountability, and ensuring transparency are three major components to eliminate
Some of our ministers and MPs have been accused of corruption. The Danish Ambassador
in Bangladesh brought the charge of corruption against the Shipping Minister. A
parliamentary body on March 8 also criticized the Shipping Minister for a
\"mysterious\" increase in price for building an ocean-going ship and misuse of funds
for construction of a new container terminal in Chittagong. Two MPs from the ruling
BNP also brought charge of corruption against the Communication Minister for his
involvement in the CNG import scam for Tk 2 billion. The minister was also blamed
for involvement in corruption in allotment of land for setting up CNG station. The
ACC should now proceed with these cases to attain credibility.
It has been learnt that the ACC is going to submit charge sheets on 45 major graft
cases within a short time to cast away widespread doubt and frustration in the
public minds. The people of this country have very bitter experiences with the
now-defunct Bureau of Anti-Corruption (BAC) whose only job was to harass the
opponents of the party in power. The ACC must not follow the footprint of the BAC.
We cannot help wondering with the ACC\'s plan for deployment of Rab or BDR to launch
blitz against corruption. Neither the \"storm operation\" not the \"trap case drive\" is
considered the right strategy to fight endemic corruption. Getting rid of corruption
is a daunting task for Bangladesh as it is deeply rooted in our socio-political
structure. The fundamental problem that relates to corruption in Bangladesh is the
dominance of the vested interests irrespective of changes in the power matrix.
Launching of such drives with much fanfare will only help the top shots to dip for
the time-being. The remedy is to start cleanly a drive from the top tiers with the
intelligent unit of ACC, who may be a better bet than Rab or BDR.
The people at large are anxious to see a really activated ACC, as they know to what
extent corruption has penetrated every section of society, making life miserable.
The ACC, which was billed as a mountain, has so far been proved to be a molehill. It
should now make desperate attempt for curbing corruption where no corrupt person
will be spared for his political affiliation with a view to salvage the country from
the position of \"most corrupt nation.\"

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