Big-project Graft: ACC offered to help govt, yet to get response Says anti-graft body chief

The Anti-Corruption Commission has offered the government help in checking corruption in large projects, but it is yet to get any response, said ACC Chairman Iqbal Mahmood yesterday.

Talking to journalists, he said, “We’ve asked the government if it needs our help to prevent corruption in big projects. The cabinet division also asked different ministries to seek our help.”

“But to date, actually, we have not received any response … We’re now doing it on our own,” said Iqbal before leaving his office to meet Masud Ahmed, comptroller and auditor general (CAG) of Bangladesh, at the latter’s office.

Asked whether the government not responding was frustrating the ACC, he said, “It’s not frustrating because the prevention of corruption is an ongoing process. The government is trying.”

“It’s a new concept of preventing corruption before it takes place. It also takes time to understand it.”

Replying to a query about increasing corruption in the banking sector, he said, “It’s not right. From my point of view, scam in the banking sector is not increasing rather it is decreasing.”

“Good governance in the banking sector has begun, and it will continue,” Iqbal said, mentioning 16 percent growth in the sector.

Asked about the submission of authentic affidavits of candidates who will contest the next general election, he said, “We expect those who will compete in the election will give their actual wealth statements.”

Saying that the ACC has already written to the Election Commission over discrepancies in the affidavits of some lawmakers, the anti-graft body chief said, “We’ve not seen any visible action taken against them.”

In the meeting with CAG Masud, the ACC chairman said in the last couple of days, the commission received complaints about comptroller and auditor general officials taking bribes for releasing salaries, pensions, provident funds, conveyance bills of government officials, and bills of contractors, according to an ACC press release.

Iqbal said the ACC caught several CAG officials red-handed. “The process will continue, but the commission does not want to embarrass an officer. That is why it wants to tackle corruption through joint efforts.”

Masud said they suspended 17 officers and staffers of the CAG office last year for corruption, and departmental investigation was going on against 35 people.

Masud also agreed to work with the ACC to curb corruption, the release added.