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Like people of South Korea our people should be ready to fight corruption

By Editorial Desk
02nd-Dec-2016       
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Facing growing criticism of abuse of power South Korea's President Park Geun-hye has asked Parliament to help her find a way to stand down. Ms Park is being investigated now whether or not she allowed a long-time friend to influence political decisions for personal gain. The people's movement in the streets against their President  came at a time when  high level corruption  in our country  is an open secret  but there is no way out to press investigation against them, least to force them to leave office in the interest of a clean administration.

Ms Park Geun-hye said she would "leave to parliament everything about my future including shortening of my term." But she is equally concerned about a power vacuum from immediate resignation.

On the other hand, Parliament is due to discuss on Friday (today) whether she should face impeachment. Some ruling party men said the President should stand down "honourably" before it reached that point. Opposition parties accuse her of now trying to escape impeachment.

The scandal stems from the President's relationship with her close friend, Choi Soon-sil. Ms Choi is accused of trying to extort huge sums of money from South Korean companies. She is also suspected of using her friendship with Ms Park to solicit business donations for a non-profit fund she controlled. It is also alleged that Ms Park passed large numbers of confidential government documents to Ms Choi, via an aide. Ms Choi is in police detention, facing a string of charges.

 If parliament passes a motion for Ms Park's impeachment on Friday, she would face immediate suspension from presidential duties. The prime minister would take over as temporary government head. The Constitutional Court would then have to decide whether to approve the impeachment, a process which could take up to six months. But given Ms Park's recent announcement, her party is now asking for the impeachment efforts to be delayed.

Earlier in the year, Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff was removed from office following an impeachment vote in the Senate. The impeachment trial against Ms Rousseff was based on allegations that she manipulated the government's accounts in 2014 when she was seeking re-election. Her opponents said what she did was illegal and warranted her impeachment. She argued it was a common practice which previous presidents also engaged in. Ms Rousseff said her opponents were trying to mount a coup against her and were using the impeachment trial to oust her and her Workers' Party from office.

If we compare the situations of the two countries with our nation we find striking contrasts. We find corruption being institutionalized, prevalent everywhere from government offices to schools and colleges, albeit in different forms. Indeed people openly tell other people to give a little 'speed' money to get anything done, whether it be getting birth certificates or passports.

The powerful influence of the bureaucracy has essentially created a virtual moat in which corruption is ensconced. Because they have power, members of the administration feel they can get away with corruption. Meanwhile our Anti-Corruption Commission remains a toothless tiger as it can't charge any public official with corruption without the consent of the government. The ACC itself remains plagued with corruption. Those asked to watch over others need watching themselves.

It is very difficult to root out something, which has essentially become part of our political system. Our politics is about corruption. Most importantly, in South Korea democracy is functioning and the government has accountability to the people.

Here, in Bangladesh, even the opposition is a partner in corruption. The major opposition parties are also waiting for their turn, if at all, to be benefitted from corruption. Our people are leaderless and unless they themselves are ready to fight corruption we see no hope. Corruption is enemy to good and just governance. There may be lies or even unsubstantiated stories but it is absurd to believe that development and state corruption can go together. Corruption in government has to end if our people had to have any future to be proud of.

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