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15th-Jun-2014

ACC’s purpose is to fight public corruption and not private offences

By MAINUL HOSEIN

The members of the Anti-Corruption Commission will have to uphold the true spirit and purpose of the Commission and maintain strict discipline in its administration so that the public purpose of preventing corruption must begin with fighting corruption in the government. The purpose of a high-powered Independent Anti-Corruption Commission cannot be for investigating ordinary corruption allegations. Such a course will only be helpful for maneuvering the Commission to harass people who speak against the ministers and other high-ups in the government accusing them of plundering people's money.In Bangladesh, the Anti-Corruption Commission has been changed making it an ineffective body for fighting corruption with public money in high public offices. It is using its extensive power to deal with corruption offences including cheating involving powerless private persons. Under the ordinary laws the ordinary government investigation agencies  are more than enough to deal with corruption cases of ordinary people.By reasonable implication corruption means corruption in public offices. What private individuals do is called stealing or cheating. In the result, the Commission is not proving much of a  check against big corruption by big ones in the government. If anything, corruption in government under political protection admittedly is more rampant than ever before.The need of an independent and powerful Anti-Corruption Commission is justified only to stop stealing of public money by those holding high public positions capable of misappropriating big public money and protecting others cooperating with them in such crimes. In Pakistan days, The Prevention of Corruption Act was passed to "punish persons in the service of the republic". After Bangladesh came into being the law was made applicable in Bangladesh the same way against people in the government.But later the law was repealed and now the Anti-Corruption Commission Act was introduced repealing The Prevention of Corruption Act with the misleading objective of preventing all corruptions by all people thereby the whole purpose of the special law and special Commission has been defeated. The all powerful Commission is not effective against big corruption with public money. Their attention has been diverted to private offences which have no connection with public affairs. The Commission's authority has been widened to include private cheating under Section 420 of the Bangladesh Penal Code. The temptation for corruption among Commission officials has increased with the increase of power over helpless private individuals.On the other hand no corruption cases against ministers and other privileged ones can be initiated without the PM's clearance.  The powerful ones in the government can now easily remain out of fear of the diminished and diffused Anti-Corruption Commission, saying so to say, let us all avail of the opportunity of doing corruption together instead of fighting corruption without personal gains. The government can rightly say: You have been given power to investigate and harass persons for private cheating also. What else you want to remain active in the name of preventing corruption?In India The Central Vigilance Commission Act 2003 was passed to provide for the constitution of a central vigilance commission to enquire or cause inquiries to be conducted into offences alleged to have been committed under the provision of The Prevention of Corruption  Act by certain categories of  public servants.We also say that to punish private "corruption" we do not need a special and Independent Anti-Corruption Commission. The ordinary laws of theft and robbery are enough. The people do not need another government body at public expense for more public harassment and more corruption with public money and property.It seems the independent Anti-Corruption Commission is independent only for the purpose of participating in corruption jointly with the government if the Commission officials so choose. Those members of the public who want to give information about public corruption in high public offices are in real danger of becoming victims of false corruption cases themselves. The sweeping power enjoyed by the Anti-Corruption Commission for investigating and prosecuting private individuals has the effect of normal criminal justice system under normal penal laws crumbling. Even simple private cheating cases have to be initiated by the Independent Anti-Corruption Commission.Nowhere no people need an Independent Anti-Corruption Commission for punishing private "corruption".