We are surprised to learn that eight of the Anti-Corruption Commission officials whose faulty investigations led to Jaha Alam, a jute mill worker, being wrongfully implicated in cases filed over misappropriation of Tk 18.5 crore from Sonali Bank, were promoted and given more serious responsibilities. One wonders how such promotions can take place when the ACC’s own investigation found these officials to be responsible for Jaha Alam’s predicament. The investigation report, placed before the High Court on July 11, mentioned that “the mistake of identifying Jaha Alam as Abu Salek [the actual suspect] happened because of the investigation officials.” The probe found that none of the 12 ACC officials who investigated the case visited Jaha Alam’s house and only relied on the bank officials to find the real accused, which seems to be one of the reasons why they made such a serious mistake.
What was reassuring for us though was the fact that the anti-graft body had shouldered the responsibility of the dangerous mistake its officials had made and launched a re-investigation into the case. However, it makes absolutely no sense as to why the ACC would promote these same officials to higher positions after their negligence was revealed by the media and also by their own investigation. Although the officials’ promotions were due, according to the ACC, rewarding them with promotions at a time when an investigation was still ongoing sets a bad example.
We have learned that the commission has filed departmental cases against these officials and they can still hold their posts while the proceedings are underway. So now we hope that after their internal investigation is over, the commission would take action against these officials under their service rules. Under section 40 of the ACC Service Rule of 2008, these officials could face several penalties, including demotion, postponement of their promotion, forced retirement and even termination.
People hold the ACC in high esteem and thus expect them to be fair in treating their own officials. By rewarding their officials with promotions after they had conducted a faulty probe, which led to an innocent man losing three years of his life in jail, it stands to lose public trust.