Good initiatives lost to bad instances
Bad instances have overshadowed the government's initiatives to ensure good governance and eradication of corruption, reveals a Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) research yesterday.
Power abuses, especially in judiciary, corruption prevention and public safety, coupled with the failure of the government and opposition in being transparent have contributed to such instances, the research added.
The research titled “Electoral pledge to establish good governance and eradicate corruption: Advancement evaluation” examined the progress in 12 sectors beginning form anti-corruption to non-government organisations, which fall within the TIB remit.
Based on direct and indirect information, the research evaluated advancement of the initiatives the government and main opposition took between January 2009 and July 2011 in light of their electoral pledges.
“We feel ethically bound to remind the government that the people elected them to fulfil the pledges they had made before the election,” said TIB Trusty Board Chairperson Sultana Kamal at a press briefing in the National Press Club.
Formation of judicial commission to appoint judges at lower court, submission of wealth statement by 19 high court justices, execution of the convicts in Bangabandhu killing case and beginning of the trial of war criminals includes the TIB list of 15 significant steps taken by the government.
Formulation of rights to information act, witness protection acts and setting up of information commission were also hailed in the TIB research.
However, recommendation of withdrawal of graft cases against the government loyal, abolition of caretaker government system, controversy over amendment of ACC act, 2004 and dismissal of graft cases on political consideration have been identified as intervention in corruption prevention and in judiciary, according to the research.
It mentioned about the law ministry's influence -- from judges' appointment to their promotion -- on lower courts. It also revealed that the ministries of finance, establishment and home also have influence on the lower courts.
The presidential mercy to condemned killer on political grounds was also identified as an impediment to establishing the rule of law in the research.
The other points of impediments to good governance include non-submission of wealth statement by the prime minister, ministers and lawmakers, culture of making officials OSDs, political control over appointment and promotion of government officials, use of police force for political purpose, political influence in appointing and promoting police personnel, and extortion and tender manipulation by government-backed student organisation.
Continuous extra-judicial killing, harassment of garments workers, custodial torture and death, and killing at borders are the major humanitarian concern, the research observed.
The government's strict stance on identifying indigenous people as Bangalee in the amended constitution has topped the list of negative initiatives which are preventing development of the underprivileged communities.
Apart from these, constitutional amendment, price hike, disaster in communication sector, failure to handle the share market, low pace in implementing the Detailed Area Plan and lack of transparency in making international deals drew a huge flak in the research.
The research also studied several issues including making parliament effective, local government system, Election Commission, women empowerment, development of religious minorities and underprivileged communities, and rights and non-government organisations.
It concluded by making a list of 11 recommendations including ensuring an independent Anti-Corruption Commission, making an effective parliament through participation of all, disclosure of wealth owned by the prime minister, ministers, lawmakers and advisers and their families to improve the situation.