Thursday, December 12, 2019 | ePaper

Corruption isn't a crime at all for them!

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THERE is no visible decline in corruption by government officials and employees despite significant increases in their salaries and other benefits over the years, the Transparency International Bangladesh has found in a study. The study cited Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and former finance minister AMA Muhith expressing frustrations about corrupt practices by government officials.
For example, a section of government officials who were given cars still use vehicles from the Transport Pool, putting pressure on the pool cars, said the Study report. Done between June 2018 and March 2019, the Study also found promotions to the posts of Deputy Secretary and above are still given on political consideration, and not on the basis of "merit, skill and honesty" as stipulated in the Public Service Law.
The Sarkari Chakori Ain-2018 has already emboldened public servants as under the law they cannot be arrested until a court frames charges against them. Before the charge framing, they can be held only with permission from the hiring authorities or any other authorities defined in any other existing law, although according to the ACC it is not applicable for them.
This law may be one of the reasons for the continuing high levels of corruption in the Public Sector. Government employees were supposed to declare their wealth at the time of entering the service and disclose their wealth statements every five years but in practice, however, government officials do not submit their wealth statements every five years.
So if a government official finds that he is promoted on political considerations superseding senior officials just because they were of another political identity what would keep that individual from taking bribes --especially if they know that it will be next to impossible for a normal individual or organisation to get them arrested. The Sarkari Chakori Law is the single law which has made public officials think that they are immune to most legal processes.
This law has also made them think that they are immune to charges of corruption from most individuals and firms. Added to the fact that higher officials are promoted on political considerations and you have a cocktail which will definitely discourage any such official from not being corrupt.

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