Thursday, January 17, 2019 | ePaper
ACC is afraid and hesitant to proceed against big corruption
YES, in terms of combating corruption at the very high levels of our society and particularly ranging from bureaucracy, banking to almost all spheres of the public and the private sectors - the ACC has often appeared weak and hesitant. In fact the government too keeps ignoring the anti-graft body.
For instance, the ACC Chairman has recently offered the government to help curb corruption in infrastructure and large projects, but it is yet to get any response from the government's end. Also it is yet to open any investigation into the gross irregularities of Farmers Bank and bring to light the loan scandals resorted to by its former Chairman who is also a ruling party law maker. In four years since the bank was set up, it plunged into a severe liquidity crisis and reports said the former chairman used his absolute control over the bank as the lead sponsor to fund mismanagement. The anti-graft body's futile attempts to 'quiz' or interrogate the former BASIC Bank Chief, after the looting of the bank has been completed, is another quixotic tale of attempting to give an eyewash to people. However, in a simple sentence it exists for the sake of only existing in name without functioning properly.
From the ACC Chief's statement, it may appear that his hands are tied down by the government but it is actually him who has deliberately sacrificed his authorities to the ruling party. If not, then how could he make a statement saying 'Good governance in the banking sector has begun, and it will continue'? While asked about the submission of authentic affidavits of candidates who will contest the next general elections, he said, 'We expect those who will compete in the elections will give their actual wealth statements.' he didn't mention - how would the Commission verify and what actions will be taken against false wealth statements.
Not that the ACC cannot function, Very recently, based on a number of complaints lodged by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of Bangladesh, the ACC caught several CAG officials red-handed. Following this the ACC Chief said, the process will continue, but the Commission 'does not want to embarrass an officer. That is why it wants to tackle corruption through joint efforts'. It is clearly hesitant in terms of putting the ruling party politicians and government employees in embarrassing position.
Such whimsical remarks are clearly signs of a Commission's Chief - riddled with inner-conflicts coupled with poor, scared and biased attitude. Concurrently, it also becomes clear - had the political leadership allowed the anti-graft body to function independently and sincerely fight corruption - it would have been only better for the ACC.
The point however, on one hand, it is least likely that the Anti-Corruption Commission would radically start functioning better at the fag-end of the present government's tenure while on the other it has become clear that it is helpless to stand against the criminal masterminds somehow sponsored and affiliated with the regime. ACC may well change in the distant future, but it is hopeless to be optimistic for its imminent future.