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10th-Aug-2016

ACC officials assess household fittings for corruption

By Editorial Desk

The findings of a survey on ACC performance released by Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) on Monday showed that people's opinion about the anti-graft agency is not satisfactory.
It must do more to win people's confidence at a time when 68 percent people of the country were victims of corruption between 2013 and 2015 TIB report said suggesting how endemic corruption is at all levels.  
TIB report did not mention how the weak ones have become easy victims of ACC officials. They go into one's house freely, search everything including household fittings to see how easily one can be threatened with a corruption case. But they are indifferent about sky-high corruption of powerful ones.    
Meanwhile, there is almost a total lack of activities at the ACC to break the den of corruption in high places of the government where people are misusing the government power for corruption. ACC is no use in fighting corruption in government. Stopping corruption among government officials is essential for country's development and assuring public services without corruption. As a result the government is faltering.
The ACC Secretary claimed they have arrested at least 200 accused in corruption cases in the last three months including government officials, bankers, businessmen and individuals for stealing public money and amassing illegal wealth.  Generally they do so after corruption incidents come to light through the media.
The Chairman has to be tough for restraining the ACC officials from corrupt practices. He seems to have no time to supervise the activities of his own officials. ACC officials make life difficult for those who are weak or in opposition politics. They demand money openly without fear. To put pressure, if nothing else is found worthy, they will threat to find out the cost of household fittings for bringing charges of illegal gains.
The Chairman, if curious, will find copies of notices asking persons to account for the cost of household fittings. They ask persons to come to ACC office for interrogation, not once, but again and again. It is also easy to use an ACC official to harass others inducing the fear of starting corruption cases. More power means more abuse for personal gain. We have additional corruption by ACC officials.
The ACC officials must know that it is not their job to chase petty thieves or burglars, police are there to do that kind of jobs. The anti-graft agency is mainly tasked with fighting corruption in high places in the government. We are proving how backboneless we are when it comes to protecting honesty of big public functionaries.
In our view the ACC must learn from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) of India, which did not hesitate to punish political bigwigs like former Chief Minister of Bihar Lalu Proshad Yadev in a fodder scam in which he was accused of siphoning over Rs 1,000 crore from the budget. Four other retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers were also convicted in the case.
In our country ACC is toothless against the Ministers and government officials. Without clearance from the Prime Minister ACC cannot move against them. Thus ACC has become useless against fighting corruption.  
It even failed to initiate probe into the recent money heist from Bangladesh Bank. Bangladesh Bank's governor had the audacity to say that he was leaving like a hero. Thus we have a country full of failed heroes.
Our national image is that our educated people in high public positions are thieves and have no love for the country. Corruption is easy for everybody making people helpless victims.