PM wants ACC reconstituted
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday told the Jatiya Sangsad that the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) would be reconstituted, and accountability and transparency of its activities ensured.
“Steps will be taken for smooth functioning of the ACC without political interference,” Hasina assured the House during question-answer session.
The government will do everything required to free the society of corruption, she said.
Replying to lawmakers' queries, the PM also unveiled her government's plans to build digital Bangladesh by 2021 by implementing a large number of measures on information technology (IT), which would also generate employment and help fight corruption.
IT education at secondary education level will be made compulsory by 2013 and at primary level by 2021, Hasina said.
As the lawmakers criticised activities of the ACC during the immediate past caretaker government's tenure, the PM said, “Transparency and accountability of the Anti-Corruption Commission's activities would be ensured by reconstituting it. Steps will also be taken so that officials of the commission cannot be involved in corruption.”
Hasina, also chief of the Awami League that leads the ruling grand alliance with over 260 seats in the House, said initially people had welcomed the ACC's activities.
Echoing lawmakers' sentiment, she said, “But its (ACC) objectives were questioned when it started working to suppress politics and politicians instead of curbing corruption. People not involved in corruption were harassed by it and forced to give deposition against others,' the PM said amid thumping of desks by treasury bench members.
“There are many stories that people were detained and later released after taking money from them,” she said.
On anti-corruption drives at the initial stage of the caretaker government's tenure, she however said it was necessary to shake the society up as corruption spread in all fields.
The prime minister urged lawmakers to lead a life consistent with their earning.
Asked if the names of top 20 corrupt people each year will be made public, she said each corrupt person's name needs to be disclosed.
Talking about the root of corruption, Hasina said, “Those who came to power wearing uniform and using arms patronised corruption. If anybody compares corruption index before and after 1975, he will understand when corruption started spreading…Corruption spread in the society due to irregularities in assuming state power and violation of the constitution.”
Replying to queries on making public offices free of malpractices, the prime minister said, “With the assistance of the Anti-Corruption Commission, the government has already taken various measures to stop corruption and bribery in government offices and courts.
“Scrutiny of wealth statements of government officials submitted to their respective authorities under the public servants conduct rules 1979 is now under consideration.”
She announced that process is on to detect corruption and corrupt officials in utility departments, government and semi-government offices. Action will be taken against those found involved in corruption and bribery.
The government is giving priority to curbing graft, combating terrorism and bringing down prices of essentials, she told a questioner.
In response to another query, the PM informed the House steps taken to get back the money siphoned off during the rule of BNP-led alliance. Investigation is on to collect information on how much money has been laundered, she said, declining to give details now.
She also spoke about government initiative to recover the black money siphoned off by Arafat Rahman Koko, younger son of former prime minister Khaleda Zia.