Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) yesterday urged the government and Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to be more watchful and demonstrate that corruption is indeed a punishable offence.
Without effective response from the government and ACC, the fight against corruption will fail, said TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman. Raising questions over the sincerity of bringing corrupt people to justice, especially those in positions of power, and empowering ACC in this connection, he said, “We don't see that happening.”
Iftekharuzzaman made the remarks while addressing the inaugural ceremony of an anti-corruption cartoon and photography exhibition at Drik Gallery in Dhaka. The exhibition will continue till December 13.
TIB also handed over prizes among winners of the 13th Anti-Corruption Cartoon Competition 2018 and 4th Anti-Corruption Photo Competition 2018.
To mark International Anti-corruption Day, TIB also formed a human chain in front of Dhaka University's Teacher-Student Centre (TSC) in the morning.
Speaking at the programme, Iftekharuzzaman said, “There are various important places, which are conducive to corruption. During the road safety movement, it was seen that a workers' leader is in charge of an important ministry. Although many promises were made to resolve this issue, these were never delivered.”
He also said the possibility of enforcing the anti-corruption acts has been reduced because of some contradictory laws like ICT Act and Public Service Act.
At the inaugural ceremony of the exhibition, he said, “The Digital Security Act has become a weapon not only against freedom of expression but also against the anti-corruption movement.
“The Digital Security Act has unfortunately created a context in which people feel insecure to raise voice and are forced to exercise self-censorship. We call upon the government to really reconsider this law and amend it as soon as possible.”
Addressing the inaugural ceremony, Danish Ambassador Winnie Estrup Petersen said corruption disproportionately affects the poor, particularly women and minority groups.
The cartoons and photographs in the exhibition are a treasure of information on the nature and impact of corruption that will provide a strong collective voice for change, she said. “It is my strong conviction that this important event will create greater awareness and motivation among the young generation to say 'no' to corruption.”
Anders Öhrström, deputy head of mission, Embassy of Sweden, and Dr Luke Mukubvu, governance and institutional adviser (PFM and service delivery), DFID Bangladesh, were present at the programme. TIB Chairperson Sultana Kamal presided over the ceremony.
In the cartoon competition, awards were given in two age groups. Under group A (age 13-18), the winners are Isaiah Tripland Heaven (first prize), Md Tauhidul Hasan (second), and Sumaiya Akter (third). Under group B (age 19-25), Md Mashud Al Mamun, Ashraful Islam and Prosun Halder won the first, second and third prizes respectively. In the photo contest, the award recipients are Mohammad Asad (first), Nazrul Islam (second), and Rehman Asad (third).