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 public. 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 operative. 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 corruption. 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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