ACC crippled by internal rows | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 10, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 10, 2011

ACC crippled by internal rows

Says 2005 US cable

The then finance minister Saifur Rahman in 2005 had acknowledged that the Anti-Corruption Commission was not working the way it should and that “it was crippled by internal arguments,” said a US diplomatic dispatch leaked recently by WikiLeaks.
Saifur spoke about the problems in the anti-graft body when the then US ambassador in Dhaka and the USAID director met him on February 6, 2005, said the diplomatic cable.
"The existing staff [of ACC] is problematic, the chair [of ACC] is unwilling to agree to take steps to correct the infighting, and he feels that moving them to a new commission would be putting old wine into new bottles", said the dispatch quoting the finance minister as saying.
The BNP-led four-party alliance government constituted the ACC on November 21, 2004 and made Justice Sultan Hossain Khan its chief with the status of a Supreme Court judge.
Staff working with the bureau of anti-corruption were taken in the newly-formed ACC.
But the commission failed to keep the anti-graft watchdog functional and came under criticism for its “partisan role.”
Sultan and two other commissioners resigned during the tenure of the caretaker government in response to a call for them to step down from the then president Iajuddin Ahmed during the state of emergency.
Lt General (retd) Hasan Mashhud Chowdhury, who was appointed ACC chairman on February 22, 2007, also echoed Saifur's view on the efficiency of ACC staff, said another leaked US embassy cable.
In a meeting with the Australian high commissioner on March 14, 2007, the ACC chief said he has little confidence in his staff, most of whom joined the ACC from the notoriously ineffectual and corrupt bureau of anti-corruption.
"Moreover, his staff lacks significant investigative expertise, including critical forensic accounting skills and familiarity with property cases," the cable said.
Hasan Mashhud Chowdhury resigned on April 2, 2009 and the AL-led government appointed Ghulam Rahman, a former bureaucrat, the ACC chief. Since then, no significant step has been taken by the current government to revamp and strengthen the anti-graft body.

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