Huge complaints to ACC unattended
Only 901 complaints accepted for probe in 2022
The major portion of corruption complaints - received by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in 2022 - remained unattended, as the national anti-graft body could not investigate those allegations for taking actions, terming those 'unacceptable'.
The total number of graft complaints also saw a significant increase in the year, according to its annual report 2022.
The ACC received a total of 19,338 complaints last year. Of these, it accepted only 901 for enquiry, and 3,152 were sent to different ministries or relevant departments for necessary actions.
The ACC in the report said the remaining 15,285 unattended complaints were 'unacceptable' according to the set standards. The number was 11,367 in 2021 and 15,198 in 2020.
Service delivery in Bangladesh involved an estimated Tk 108.3 billion in underhand dealings in a year, according to a 2021 survey by the Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB).
At least 70.9 per cent of the service recipients in the country were victims of graft. They had to pay the aggregate amount in 2021, the anti-graft watchdog noted in its survey report - published in 2022.
TIB Executive Director (ED) Dr Iftekharuzzaman said it is quite possible that some of the allegations that the ACC received through various processes might not necessarily be within the purview of its mandate.
However, unless specifically elaborated and duly disclosed for public information why no action was taken against such a large number of allegations, questions might arise whether it was lack of necessary manpower and other resources, lack of expertise including investigation skills and capacity, or lack of courage and commitment to act without fear or favour irrespective of status and identity of the individuals concerned, according to him.
This is particularly important because there are valid reasons behind the public perception that an increasingly bureaucratised ACC has been chasing mainly 'small fries' rather than 'big fishes' with direct or indirect political or governmental connections, Dr Zaman pointed out.
To enhance public trust, the ACC needs to systematically and sustainably establish a track record that it can act on the basis of equality before law - unbiased by any perceived or real political or bureaucratic influence, the TIB ED told the FE.
ACC counsel Khurshid Alam Khan said complainants come up with pleas (to investigate), although (most of) these are not the ACC's mandate.