Focus on curbing corruption

Published : 18 Nov 2021 12:59 PM | Updated : 22 Nov 2021 09:05 PM

The incumbent government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina completed 100 days in office on Tuesday.

In this period, the government gave highest priority on ensuring hassle-free and corruption-free public services in order to expedite the country’s ongoing development.

Despite significant achievements in various socio-economic indicators, the development process is yet get full pace due to corruption and bureaucratic bottleneck. There could be more achievements, if the above mentioned hurdles could have been avoided.

Immediately after taking office the government therefore became tough against corruption and bureaucratic bottleneck.

In line with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s announcement of zero tolerance policy on corruption, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has kept conducting sudden drive against corruption, irregularities and mismanagement in public offices across the country.

In this regard, local administration and members of different law enforcement agencies are cooperating with the ACC.

“The intensified anti-corruption drives have made the bureaucrats more cautious than before. The officials and employees who were involved in corruptions and irregularities, either are now panicked or on the run as they can be caught red handed anytime,” an official of Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha said.

According to some people from the business community, who are the worst suffers of corruption and bureaucratic tangles, in the existing bureaucratic system of the country even if some bureaucrats are honest and corruption-free, they cannot play any effective role in ensuring proper public services.

They pointed out that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina being fully aware of this fact oftentimes calls bureaucrats and other officials concerned in her office and clears various important files promptly.

However this is not any sustainable solution, they said adding that a major change in the entire bureaucratic system is what the time demands.

The government in a bid to curb corruption has enhanced salaries and other benefits of government employees manifold in the last several years in accordance with their needs.

But government officials at almost all public offices across the country have failed to free them from indulging corruptions and misappropriation of money.

This has angered Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina anger as the mandate of her office is to promote accountability and transparency in the public sector.

And she came up with a note of warning declaring her zero tolerance policy against corruption and irregularities.

High-level corruption across all levels of government across the country was threatening the integrity and basic functioning of the state.

According to sources, the collusion by civil servants and other officials in association with the cheat and tout looted huge amount of public exchequers since long.

It has many different shapes as well as many various effects, both on the economy and the society at large.

Among the most common causes of corruption are the political and economic environment, professional ethics and morality and, of course, habits, customs, tradition and demography, the sources added.

Talking to Bangladesh Post some government officials at different public offices, preferring not to be named, said that the ACC’s drives have generated awareness among the people against corruption.

“If the commission continues conducting such drives, we believe that corruption and irregularities at government officers will be stopped,” an official added.

Two enforcement teams have been formed by the anti-graft watchdog to conduct sudden drive at government offices to catch the corrupt officials red-handed.

In the wake of the recent drive, middlemen, cheats, tout and musclemen, who in association with a section of officials and employees had formed syndicate in order to indulge in corruption, misdeed and other irregularities, have also left the government office premises.

Once, these organised groups ruled every government office from central to field level. And the common people were held hostage by them.

Contacted ACC deputy-director Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya on Wednesday said the ongoing drive will be intensified gradually.

“Based on allegations, our teams are now conducting the sudden drive across the country,” he said.

He added the commission persistently lets open and disseminate information against corruption as to harness the social power to cause moral uplift and promote good practices.

“In addition to the conveyed out through almost all the mass media in collaboration with BTRC, our drive is now on,” he added.

He said the commission has also formed the corruption prevention committees.

“The ACC has now primarily targeted the major public offices across the country to ensure corruption-free and hassle-free public services,” he added.

Meanwhile, the ACC formed four separate high powered committees to investigate corruption and irregularities at Biman Bangladesh Airlines.

“Our teams have already begun carrying out investigation. As part of our investigation, notices have already been served to the some officials and staffs,” an ACC official said.

He added all officials and staffers including managing director of Biman will be quizzed in phases.

“Taking bribes, some directors of Biman board, approved work permit to their chosen person. These directors will be interrogated,” the official said.

In recent times, the ACC has conducted drives at Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority, the Department of Environment in Narsingdi, the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI), Dhaka Central Jail, Chattogram Customs House, Bangladesh Muktijoddha Kalyan Trust, Bangladesh Road Transport Authority, Department of Immigration and Passports, Viqarunnisa Noon School and College, Ideal School and College, Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (DWASA), Registration Complex at Tejgaon, Dhaka, the Meherpur deputy commissioner’s office, Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk), Shikhkha Bhaban, land offices in different districts and against illegal sand excavation next to Bongshi Nodi at Savar.