ACC must not lose public confidence
We are surprised at the way the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has acted in the case of its deputy assistant director Sharif Uddin. Instead of following up on the allegations of graft and recommendations made by him over the last three years, the ACC has opted to sack him on the basis of some complaints reportedly made by the same people against whom he had filed reports—in this case, land acquisition syndicates. Sharif Uddin investigated graft allegations against various individuals in Chattogram and Cox's Bazar in the past three years—including the rich and powerful involving a ruling party mayor and the son of a former minister—and recommended that the commission file 22 graft cases against the parties he had investigated.
However, instead of filing any cases, the commission ordered reinvestigations into those allegations. What prompted the graft watchdog body to re-launch these reinvestigations is not clear to anyone familiar with these reports, and certainly not to the public and the media. The ACC needs to explain its conduct here.
In 2019, Sharif Uddin submitted three separate charge sheets to the ACC against 155 people in Cox's Bazar over land acquisition scams. The graft watchdog, however, did not approve the charge sheets. The question is, why? Did his reports have factual or legal lacunae? Or did the powerful quarters, against whom the allegations of corruption were brought, have any role to play here? Here again, the ACC owes the public an explanation.
Regarding the official who has been sacked by the commission, we think due procedure for termination was not followed. He was neither given any show cause notice nor asked to give any explanation about the allegations made against him. It is not often that government employees take to the street in support of a sacked colleague. In our view, it is a testimony to his reputation, integrity and honesty.
We think the ACC now faces a huge credibility gap in people's minds and it needs to come clean about the issues we have raised above. It must provide proper explanations for the actions it has taken regarding the graft issues as well as the sacking of its official. The ACC must do this to prove its integrity and strengthen its position as an anti-corruption body that the public can trust.