ACC full of sound and fury
With corruption entrenched in every artery and vein of society, the Anti-Corruption Commission keeps having to shift its focus from one sector to another and, as a result, investigations into major corruption scandals have slowed. At the start of the year, the ACC pledged to expose those responsible for the casino business and hold them to account. A few big names, including some ruling party lawmakers, had even surfaced during the early stages of the anti-casino drive. However, with the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and investigations into irregularities in the health sector thereafter, the anti-casino drive has petered out.
While one can sympathise with the ACC when it comes to the amount of corruption cases that it has to deal with, it has to be noted that the ACC is at least partially responsible for this piling up of cases. Where was the ACC when corruption started to take root in all of these sectors and grew deeper and deeper? It is well-known throughout the world that once corruption establishes itself, it is extremely difficult to prevent it from metastasising, which is why it is most prudent to address corruption as early as possible. In Bangladesh, it is the exact opposite, as it seems the ACC is only allowed by government higher ups to investigate corruption once it becomes near intolerable to the masses—at which point the ACC prosecutes a few small fish to prevent the pitchforks from coming out.
But corruption cannot be addressed like this. Without cutting off the head from which it arises, corruption will continue to plague the nation. And herein lies the weakness of the ACC, that it is either reluctant or is fearful to prosecute members of influential and powerful quarters who are mainly at the root of corruption.
This must change if corruption is to be addressed and for the nation to prosper. If the government is really interested in curbing corruption, it has to empower the ACC and other concerned authorities to the point where they are no longer fearful to go after the masterminds behind all these corrupt initiatives. If need be, they must also be equipped with adequate manpower and whatever else is required. Otherwise, no matter how many cosmetic drives and investigations are conducted, corruption will continue to be the biggest impediment to Bangladesh's progress and its prosperity.