Catch corrupt high-fliers, gain public trust
In order to win people's confidence, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) must bring to book and ensure punishment for some of the most powerful, high-flying corrupt people by the next year, speakers told a discussion yesterday.
The discussion focused on a paper about fighting corruption through a combination of political commitment and administrative reform, presented by Prof Mohammad Mohabbat Khan, member of the University Grants Commission.
Former chief election commissioner ATM Shamsul Huda said, "You have to earn people's trust and respect by your action. What you say and do, you have to be careful about that."
He added, "You want to work independently, but you are a government agency. You need to free yourself from that status; otherwise you will not be able to meet the people's expectations."
The discussion took place at the anti-graft watchdog's office in the capital, during the closing ceremony of ACC's Corruption Prevention Week, which started on March 26.
Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of Transparency International Bangladesh, said, "It is not possible to check corruption in a country where the parliament is non-functional and parliamentary committees don't work."
Former information commissioner Muhammad Jamir stressed the need for political will to create accountability in the fight against corruption.
In one recommendation, cultural personality Ramendu Majumdar said the ACC should bring to justice people who made away with crores of taka, instead of wasting its time on petty acts of corruption.
Giving reference of a book titled "Thieves of State" by Sarah Chayes which showed a link between corruption and the rise of religious militancy in Afghanistan, Badiul Alam Majumdar, Secretary of Shushashoner Janney Nagorik (SHUJON), said, "If we want to curb militancy, we have to eliminate corruption."
Media expert Md Jahangir urged the ACC to create a cell for providing support to media workers who report on corruption.
Quoting a former secretary whose name he did not disclose, Jahangir said, "No institution in the country is independent. Only the government is independent. Others just pretend to be independent. Whatever happens in Bangladesh happens at the government's will."