We are perplexed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) chairman's comment made at a discussion recently that the anti-graft body is keeping a close watch on the corrupt practices that are rampant amongst officials of the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA). Simply stating that illegal practices at BRTA are being monitored and saying that the anti-graft body has not moved against the road authority on “strategic grounds” dilutes the credibility of the ACC.
It is our understanding that the ACC is mandated to go after corruption in public institutions whenever they occur. In the aftermath of the students' movement for safer roads and steps taken by the government to streamline vehicle fitness and driving licenses, shouldn't the ACC be cracking down on corrupt officials at BRTA instead of issuing warnings to them?
The results of the 10-day traffic week have shown us that the situation is dire in both the capital city and nationwide, where a very large percentage of vehicles have no registration, are unfit and those driving them lack the correct paperwork. We also know from media reports that brokers are making a fortune (working in collusion with corrupt officials) by providing services to drivers and owners of vehicles to effectively circumvent rules and regulations at the BRTA to get their documents in order. The need of the hour is for a crackdown on these illicit practices now, because delayed action simply gives room for crooked BRTA officials to legitimise more unfit vehicles and unprofessional drivers to be on the roads and that is not acceptable.