Graft, loan scam batter banks
A huge amount of public money had been embezzled from both public and private banks over the years, said Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Chairman Iqbal Mahmood yesterday.
The chairman, at an ACC organised seminar titled “Concerted Efforts Against Corruption” at its Segunbagicha headquarters, said the ACC wants to bring corruption down to a “tolerable level”.
Regarding the arrest of former Basic Bank chairman Sheikh Abdul Hye Bacchu for his alleged involvement in a Tk 4,500 crore loan scam, Iqbal said, “We're trying to trace where the money went. Please wait and see. None will be spared.”
His remark came a day after the Finance Minister AMA Muhith said the central bank in its investigation found involvement of Bacchu in the scam.
The central bank's probe report was submitted to the ACC.
Iqbal lamented the ACC's failure to win the hearts of the people.
“We've failed. I mean, the ACC has failed to earn the trust of the people. In the last one year, it seemed to me, that if the ACC wanted to create an example by catching the big fish, it would not be possible without the support of the people,” he said.
Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman at yesterday's programme said collusive corruption was most harmful and all grand corruptions in the public sector was committed in collusion with politically influential people, people in the administration and businessmen.
“To fight it [collusive corruption], firm political stance against corruption is required,” he said, adding that without political will, it was not possible to curb corruption.
He suggested that the ACC address the ineptness and dishonesty of some of its officials to earn people's trust.
Iftekharuzzaman praised the ACC for its corruption preventive programmes but said the ACC should not spend most of its energy and resources on preventive measures.
“The main mandate of the ACC is to bring the corrupt to book. We don't want to see an ACC that is more focused on preventive measures instead of punitive ones.”
Echoing Iftekharuzzaman, Supernumerary Prof Syed Anwar Husain of the department of history in Dhaka University said, “There won't be any benefit if the ACC declares war on corruption when the government keeps on indulging in graft.”
Md Golam Rahman, chief information commissioner, said a corruption-free system could not be expected if the rules were faulty.
“Corruption is bound to drop, if the RTI [Right to Information] was applied properly,” he said.
Former adviser to a caretaker government M Hafizuddin Khan, former BNP lawmaker Chowdhury Kamal Ibne Yusuf, former cabinet secretary Ali Imam Majumder, eminent columnist Md Jahangir, Professor of the department of public administration in Dhaka University Zarina Rahman Khan spoke among others.
Shafi-ul-Alam, former national consultant of National Integrity Strategy Support Project, gave the keynote presentation.
Dissolving the anti-corruption bureau, the ACC was formed in 2004. Since its formation, it went through various controversies. During the caretaker government rule in 2007, the commission was hyperactive.
Iqbal joined the ACC in March last year.