Corruption in BTTB
It is welcome news that BTTB authorities with the assistance of a taskforce, under the National Coordination Committee on Corruption and Serious Crimes, have launched a thorough investigation into the irregularities and corruption of many dimensions besides the major allegation of uncollected phone bills besetting the organisation. There are reports of wrong-doing, such as, keeping more vehicles than what is in the record book, unaccounted for overseas training trips, loopholes in paying salaries, and lack of transparency in the accounts division.
We understand the investigating authorities are poised to go deep into the allegations and come up with substantial evidence against the corrupt elements. Equally important is to come up with suggestions of corrective steps.
The sordid tales of uncollected telephone bills go back to decades, with no worthwhile steps taken so far for the recovery of the money. The arrears stand today at a whopping Tk. 642 crore. It is regrettable that of the mentioned amount, various government organisations owe BTTB Tk. 120 crore and other semi-government institutions Tk. 71.4 crore. It is further reported that the BTTB authorities have filed a case against seven officials for misappropriation of Tk. 7.45 crore using fake vouchers during the period between 2000 and 2006. We believe this is only a tip of the iceberg of the level of corruption prevailing in BTTB and wider investigations are called for.
Tk. 642 crore is a huge amount of money for a developing country like Bangladesh and we wonder why the BTTB authorities sat on the unpaid bills for such a long time. There should have been a fool-proof system in place right from the beginning to ensure timely billing and collection of bills by the officials. But when huge amounts running into crores remain uncollected, there is every reason to believe that a section of corrupt officials and staff members of BTTB were involved in the racket. These officials made personal gain at the cost of the revenue earning of the government.
The BTTB investigation must come out with palpable evidence unearthing the nexus having roots deep within. The ill-gotten wealth must be recovered and be handed over to the public exchequer and the corrupt elements must face the law of the land.