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Bangladesh - 3 weeks ago

Bureaucrats are in panic

Corrupt officials worried Honest are uncomfortable

Staff Correspondent: There is panic among the corrupt officials and employees of various government departments as the information of large amount of illegal wealth of several officials including former IGP Benazir Ahmed and National Board of Revenue officer Matiur Rahman has come to light.
Apart from information about the illegal wealth of corrupt officials and their family members being published in the media, intelligence agencies including the Anti-Corruption Commission have started investigations, creating a frightening situation among the officials of various organizations and departments including the police, customs, engineering and administration cadres.
On the other hand, honest officers are uncomfortable because of the corrupt colleagues. Several officials said that many of the relatives and friends are facing an embarrassing situation.
They said that the common people are losing trust in government officials as information about corruption is published in the media and social media.
A joint secretary of the BCS administration cadre said that although there were complaints of corruption earlier, the information of corruption of such a large number of officials was never revealed. Most of the administration officials are honest.
The common people of the country are angry because the illegal wealth of a few corrupt officials has come to the fore. There is a lot of writing about it on social media. It is natural to panic among others as the information of corruption of some people is caught. Because many people are afraid of who files a complaint against him and when an investigation is started against him.
A joint secretary of the Parliament Secretariat said that many of his relatives now think that he has a lot of wealth as he is a government official. Friends also called and asked how many flats I have bought in Dhaka. Many people like me are embarrassed by such questions.
He said that honor is far from being a thing, because of the corrupt, no one trusts even the honest officials of the administration. Instead, he wants to discuss various irregularities and corruption when he sees them.
Several officials of the Ministry of Public Administration said that due to the corruption of Benazir Ahmed and Matiur Rahman, more instability and fear was created among the officials of the police, customs and administration cadres. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) got the information about Tk 19 crore deposited in 18 banks in the name of the father-in-law and mother-in-law of National Board of Revenue (NBR) first secretary Kazi Abu Mahmud Faisal and later withdrawing a large part of it. The court ordered the seizure of immovable properties and bank accounts of Faisal and his family. After this news came to the media, the panic among the officials increased. Officials of sub-registry offices and various engineering-related departments are also in panic. Everyone is busy looking for ways to protect themselves. Many of those who have homes abroad are also planning to quit their jobs and move abroad.
Out of 26 cadres of BCS in government services, 14 are known as general cadres. There are 12 professional cadres. In total, among these 26 cadres, officers of 9 cadres including police, customs, customs and excise, engineering and administration are now in fear. Especially the officers of Customs Excise, Audit and Accounts Cadre are very scared. Several officers of this cadre are now going to be caught in the net of the ACC, according to various media reports. Apart from this, among the professional cadres, they are also in fear as various allegations have already been raised about the corruption of officials of public works, roads and highways, forest, public health engineering and BCS railway cadre. There has been discomfort at all levels including the Deputy Commissioner and District Superintendent of Police. The officials of the field administration are worried because the corruption of the big bosses has been exposed. However, those who are honest officers are welcoming the anti-corruption stance of the government.
Former secretary AKM Abdul Awal Majumdar said that there is more or less corruption in different countries of the world. However, in recent times, Bangladesh’s corruption has overtaken other countries. The role played by the media against the corrupt is commendable. Urging the accused to be brought under the law, he said corruption should be stopped at any cost.
He said, out of lakhs of candidates, few people get government jobs. So those who got government job, they are undoubtedly lucky. So, they should be grateful to the state and the people. Apart from this, it is important to test the integrity of those who go to the top positions of the administration. Because not everyone can go to the top.
Several MPs from the ruling Awami League and the opposition have expressed their anger in the National Parliament by accusing government officials of corruption. They said, even if they are not involved in corruption, politicians have to take responsibility for corruption.
Mahbub-ul Alam Hanif, Joint General Secretary of Awami League and Member of Parliament of Kushtia-2 Constituency, said that corruption is dimming all the achievements of the government. Despite the zero-tolerance policy, corruption could not be curbed or controlled. Today there is instability in the market, commodity prices increase. Control is difficult. If there is free flow of corruption in the market it can never be controlled. To control the market, corruption should be controlled first.
Hanif said that the salary of government employees has been increased in stages. Their facilities have been enhanced. Still why would there be corruption? Today, when corruption is mentioned, everyone first points the finger at the politicians. Politicians are involved in corruption. It is prevalent in the country. However, none of the members of parliament has executive power except the minister. How will they corrupt?
He said that corruption occurs in government development and procurement. Where is the scope of a politician, if government officials are not involved with him. In 2018, information came to public administration, there are complaints of corruption against 1000 officials and employees. There are thousands of such models. The salary has been increased gradually. Still, it was not possible to reduce corruption. Rather, corruption laws have been made more flexible and lax. They are allowed to retain their jobs with a nominal penalty.
Hanif said, if there is a criminal case against politicians at the national level, they do not need permission to arrest them. But if there is a similar case against government officials and employees, he has to take the permission of senior officials to arrest him. Government Servants Act-2018 encourages officials and employees to commit corruption. Government servants will not be exempted from service if they are punished for less than one year. He has been reprimanded and sentenced to departmental punishment. Which is not conducive to good governance. But they have the power to immediately dismiss the local representatives. Anti-corruption commission is hindered to bring them under the law due to this law. It is effectively considered a Criminal Protection Act.
He said, before the election, we have to give affidavit, we have to give details of all assets. But government officials are not required to give an affidavit. My proposal would be to make the affidavit mandatory at the time of recruitment and after every five years or at the time of promotion. So that the nation can know the amount of his property.
Anisul Islam Mahmud, Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Jatiya Sangsad, said that it should be mandatory to provide a statement of assets at the time of entry into government service to prevent corruption.
Expressing anger over the corruption of government officials, this Japa leader said that a country cannot run in the current situation. Recently some cases of corruption have come to light. Important persons, heads of institutions, have been accused of corruption of not hundreds of crores, but thousands of crores of rupees. It is time to take action against corruption and do a review of the whole system.
Anisul Islam Mahmud said, now people are seeing how corruption is happening, institutions are being destroyed. Not everyone is corrupt. But everyone is responsible. This corruption must be stopped. We want those who have committed corruption to be punished, but at the same time there needs to be a review of the system in which such corruption can occur.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader told the reporters that corruption is a way of life across the world regarding the corruption of current and former officials of the administration. This is not an isolated issue in Bangladesh. We are not claiming that there is no corruption here. ACC has been asked by the Prime Minister to stick to the policy of zero tolerance. ACC is an independent institution. Government has zero tolerance for corruption, zero tolerance for Prime Minister, ACC has right to investigate corruption. The government has not and will not interfere with this freedom. No one will be exempted by corruption.
Former Cabinet Secretary Ali Imam Majumder said that not only government officials and employees commit corruption, corruption is widespread in all areas. The ACC may begin work by drawing up a list of suspected corrupt persons. Here, actually, now we have to start sampling. Because the ACC does not have the manpower to catch everyone. And not all officers are honest officers in the ACC. The government also used them politically.
He also said that there is a provision to give account of assets of government officials and employees while joining government service. Yet a large section of public servants are increasingly involved in corruption. This is because there is a culture of impunity. As a result, not only government employees, but everyone is looting.
He said, campaign against corruption should be started with a political commitment. Those who are corrupt at the top of government officials should be caught first.

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