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ACC spends too much on too small cases

HC asks the watchdog to probe big grafts

Published : 19 Dec 2022 02:01 AM | Updated : 19 Dec 2022 05:35 PM

The Anti-Corruption Commission, the principal government agency against corruption in Bangladesh, spends from Tk 5 lakh to Tk 20 lakh for a corruption case of only Taka five thousand. 

The ACC is spending lakhs of taka from public fund on very ordinary corruption  cases instead of taking action against the corruption of big amount of   money. The High Court has said that such stand of the ACC is not appropriate. 

The High Court has, however, directed the anti-graft watchdog to investigate corruption allegations of thousands of crore Taka on a priority basis instead of spending lakhs of Taka on small corruption like bribe of five thousand taka. 

The higher court directed the ACC to first investigate if there is any complaint of corruption against the persons and government officials in the ‘Warrant of Precedence’ number 1 to 25 of the state hierarchy.

The single HC bench of Justice Md. Ashraful Kamal gave this order in a judgment last Wednesday (December 14). Deputy Attorney General Ashek Momen confirmed the matter on Sunday (December 18). 

The High Court has delivered the judgment, cancelling the sentence given to Abdur Rahim, a technician of Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company, in the case of accepting a bribe of Tk 5,000.

Lawyers concerned said that from today, the Anti-Corruption Commission will conduct preliminary inquiry and investigation only against officials holding positions 1 to 25 of the ‘Warrant of Precedence’ or such public servants-officials. After that the ACC will investigate the complaint against bank director, bank owner, bank MP, bank chairman and bank CEO. 

In the judgment, the High Court said that it is clear to this court that the ACC is spending lakhs of taka of the public on the very common corruption of Tk 500/5000 instead of taking action against the corruption of thousands of crores of Taka. It is seen in the newspapers that for a case of Tk 5000 the ACC costs anywhere from Tk 5 lakh to Tk 20 lakh. To prevent the corruption of Tk 5000, the ACC spends Tk 8 to 10 lakh from the filing of the case to the appeal. How appropriate is it?

The higher court also said, “Through newspapers and electronic media, we see corruption of thousands of crores of taka and thousands of crores of public funds being looted. Therefore, the ACC will investigate against the officials holding positions from 1 to 25 of the Warrant of Precedence or such government employees-officials. After that the allegation against bank director, bank owner, bank MD, bank chairman and bank CEO will be investigated. The ACC will investigate the cases involving large international purchase orders, very important sectors of the state, where thousands of crores of taka are involved from today.

In the cases, when there is no more complaint or evidence of corruption, only ACC will accept and file a case against such people (minor employees). ACC has to follow the above instructions henceforth.

The High court also advised the government to convert all ACC officers into a systematic cadre service holders. The High Court suggested appointing former judges of the Appellate Division or High Court Division as the chairman and members of the Anti-Corruption Commission.

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