Dhaka,  Thursday
18 July 2024

Govt taking tough stance against corrupt officials

Sanjay Adhikari Rony, Dhaka

Published: 07:39, 24 June 2024

Govt taking tough stance against corrupt officials

Dr. Iftekharuzzaman, TIB Executive Director. Photo: Collected 

The government has found itself in an embarrassing situation as the corruption of one after another of its officials has come to light. The unbridled corruption of various officials has also questioned the transparency and accountability of the government. And this is why the government is taking a strict stance to curb the corruption of the administration.

Those concerned said that the people in important positions have committed unbridled corruption and have become owners of huge wealth. Their illegal activities are having a negative impact on the government. It is also felt by the policy-making circles of the government.

According to the responsible sources of the government, a purge campaign will be conducted among the government officials and employees. All the information about those who have made wealth illegally and those who are recklessly getting involved in corruption will be recovered. Besides, all the officials and employees of the administration will be brought under accountability.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has announced a zero tolerance policy against corruption. The Awami League's manifesto for the 12th parliamentary elections in 2024 also declared a war on corruption. In this situation, the government is in a state of embarrassment due to the corruption of high-ranking officials.

It is said that several Awami League leaders, members of parliament, and ministers who are close to the government have spoken, and the matter has already been discussed in various forums of the government. In those discussions, most of the leaders were in favour of bringing the corrupt officials under the law.

Recently, MP Tarana Halim of the reserved women's seat has demanded that the names of money launderers and market syndicates be disclosed in parliament. Tarana, also an Awami League executive committee member, said, “We are Bangabandhu's soldiers and Awami League workers. So, we, who have spent their whole lives upholding the oath of integrity, don't want to have a single drop of ink on us for one, two, or three people.”

“I demand that the names of those who have houses in Canada and Begumpara and who have laundered money be revealed in parliament. Everyone's name, including those involved in black market operations, should be revealed,” she added.

Earlier, after the national election in 2018, Hasina took charge as the prime minister and visited the Ministry of Public Administration where she held meetings with government officials. She made it clear that the salaries and allowances of government officials have been increased and corruption will not be tolerated anymore. But many government officials did not pay heed to the warning. They have opted for illegal methods to harvest their sugarcane. One after another, their corruption details are being published in the media.

Recently, the corruption of former army chief Aziz Ahmed, former police chief Benazir Ahmed, and NBR officer Matiur Rahman has shocked everyone. In this situation, the government has reportedly decided to conduct a transparent and unbiased inquiry into who is corrupting the administration and how.

A weighty minister told The Daily Messenger, “Two years ago, it was decided by the government that the income details of government employees should be disclosed. Information on their assets should be submitted every year. But the decision has not been implemented even in two years. Due to some reluctance of the bureaucrats, this decision was not implemented in the end. But this time, the government is working hard to implement it.”

It may be noted that as per the Government Servants Service Rules 1979, it is mandatory for government officers and employees to submit the statement of assets every year. But this rule is not followed. The government is now taking measures to strictly follow it. Apart from this, information about the past records of the persons holding various important positions, their assets, sources of income, and expenditure will be scrutinised. Various responsible organisations have been given strict instructions in this regard.

A member of parliament from the ruling party, who did not wish to be named, told The Daily Messenger that if there is no honesty and integrity in the administration, the image of the government will be questioned and damaged. “Now many people think that they have become reckless and corrupt under the umbrella of the government. Various circles think that they actually came under the umbrella to commit corruption.”

He also said that because of these fanatics, the government is earning a bad reputation. “They are the people close to the government and are doing various irregularities and corruption. Many officials talk down to MPs and ministers. And for this reason, the administration is starting a new cleansing campaign.”

In this regard, Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of Transparency International Bangladesh, told The Daily Messenger, “In these cases, if the government and the ruling party just feel embarrassed and give an explanation, it will not be acceptable to the people. Besides, it will be suicidal for the government. The people of the country can realise that the three widely discussed incidents are not isolated issues. They are manifestations of institutionalisation of massive-level corruption and malfeasance.”

He further said, “Responsibility for such crimes is not limited to the individual concerned. Indirectly aiding, abetting, benefiting, and protecting those who are involved must be brought to account. Otherwise, the government's election promise of zero tolerance against corruption will remain yet another empty promise. Types of corruption and malfeasance will be wider and deeper.”

In addition to exemplary accountability, subject to proof of crime in due process, he also called for the publication of a white paper on high-level corruption.