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02nd-Sep-2018

Institutional corruption undermines democracy and good governance

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THE Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) on Thursday identified the law enforcement agencies as one of the most corruption-riddled service sectors. The TIB made this observation based on the findings of a survey conducted on 15,581 households in 2017. It said after law enforcement agencies, Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) and the Department of Immigration and Passports (DIP) were the most corrupt agencies . The other corrupt sectors are judicial service, land, education and healthcare.
According to newspaper reports, TIB estimated that the amount of bribes paid in 2017 rose to over Tk 10,600 crore from more than Tk 8,800 crore estimated in 2015. TIB Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman said, "The rate of bribery has dropped slightly but the amounts have increased. The salary hike means nothing to those who have made bribery a part and parcel of their lives." He also criticised the government for drafting a law to make its permission mandatory for arresting public servants on criminal charges.
Allegations of corruption against three service oriented departments including law enforcement agency are nothing new. Most of the officials prefer to abuse power for pocketing extra money even if their salary structure has already been upgraded. Everybody knows it is very hard for ordinary people to get expected service from BRTA and Passport office without paying speed money or bribe.
Widespread and deep-rooted corruption in service oriented sectors should be highly disgraceful for any pro-people government. But what is surprising that our government though it claims itself a people-friendly government never showed any interest to take a hard line against the corrupt officials. To the contrary, the cabinet very recently has paved the way to formulate a new  law so that no civil servant could be arrested without its prior approval.
We know absolute power corrupts absolutely. Only for strengthening its power base, the government has turned a blind eye to the massive corruption and it is also politicising the  civil service along with increasing their salary and other facilities. The corrupt people in power are nourishing the corruption for their mere personal interests.