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Anti-Corruption Commission must restrain pompous and greedy officials

By Editorial Desk
28th-Oct-2016       
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The Anti-Corruption Commission's (ACC) move to collect information on the property ownership of individuals has sent panic to people already bought flats and plots from the Real Estate companies and those preparing to buy. President of REHAB at a press briefing on Tuesday said they are receiving three letters on an average every day to give ACC information of individuals from a long list of their clients. He said such action is also sending depressing signals to the industry which is suffering from sluggish business over the past three years.

The President of the Realtors Association said and we also know that the existing budgetary provision allows using unaccounted or black money for buying flats and other property paying certain punitive tax against such fund. It is the government job to plug the sources of illegal money. In this context the President of the Realtors Association has rightly raised the question whether the ACC's move to investigate homebuyers stands in conformity with the existing budgetary provision or it is conflicting with it. 

So question has also arisen whether the ACC is right and its action not really contradicting with the government policy duly passed by Parliament. Because the ACC is also part of the government and it can't go whimsically that violates the government's rules. 

In our view why the ACC is chasing buyers of homes which is a basic necessity to everybody although everybody can't afford it. Most buyers are common people and what is quite intriguing is that why its officers are sending so many letters on daily basis to the realtors' association for information on buyers. Their over-enthusiasm is creating misgivings why they are so serious about it.

The legitimate question is that although the ACC is mandated to fight corruption at high places of the government where rich and powerful people are making huge fortune illegally, why it is not going after them. It is instead targeting common people and small business and REHAB President has rightly raised the question about it.

There is no doubt that huge unaccounted money is flooding the economy and the realtors have an opportunity to bring some of the money within the fold of the formal sector of the economy.  A growing real estate sector has also created so many subsidiary industries like steel and cement factories creating jobs for engineers and such other thousands of people. It has also created a robust service sector related to house buildings and home decorations.

But the ACC's move is now poised to disrupt all such growth creating panic to homebuyers. It will also force the unaccounted money to remain outside the formal sector and allow it to go out of the country. It is an open secret that huge capital is flying out of the country on regular basis to global banking system and that means the country is losing the fund making it available for use in prosperous economies to set up businesses and create new jobs for nationals of developed countries.

That is why the realtors president's call makes sense when he urged the ACC to work judiciously by considering all aspects of the complex issue. The way the ACC is now issuing letters in a wholesale manner, it is creating panic in the market. It must stop to stop greater capital flight from the country.

We know that ACC can play the powerful role to stop corruption at its source and it requires plugging the big holes at high places of the society. But if it purportedly avoids going after big fishes either on political reasons or because of the fact that chasing common people is more rewarding to greedy officials then it is too bad. We must say it and say it strongly that the officials of ACC should be restrained from harassing the weak people. They cannot fight corruption hoping to end corruption.

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