The arrest of 10 persons, of whom four are senior officers of two state-owned commercial banks (SOCBs), in connection with leak of question papers for recruitment tests of five such banks once again highlights the deep-seated corruption in financial and other sectors. Of the 10 the detective branch (DB) police arrested on charge of leaking question papers, the cog in the wheel or maybe, the principal player is an information and communication technologies (ICT) technician of the Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology (AUST). The university was assigned the task of preparing questions for a preliminary test for recruitment to the post of officers (cash) of five state-owned banks.
With help from others in the AUST, the ICT technician got hold of the MCQ question paper and its answer sheet before supplying those to bank officials. It appears from the subsequent elaborate activities undertaken by the bank officers that they monitored the assignment the Bangladesh Bank gave to the AUST for preparing the question set and found a willing partner in the ICT technician. Or, it may be the other way round too. Even a monstrous fertile brain of the gang other than the bankers and technician may have enticed them to tread this devious course. After all, the lure of fabulous sums of money was irresistible to either of the parties.
The DB could get a list of 200 candidates with each of whom the gang made a financial deal for supplying question paper and briefing on answers five to six hours before the exam in exchange for Tk 0.7 million to 1.5 million. Of the amount 20 per cent had to be paid at the time of delivering the question and another 20 per cent just before the written test and the rest during tenure in service. Thus the gang made the recruitment tests of banks a source of unearned income to the tune of millions of taka.
Those arrested have confessed to adopting the same tactic before three previous recruitment tests as well. At least 2,000 candidates were contacted for adopting the dishonest practice. However, there is no report on how many of them are now serving in different SOBs. What measure will be taken against these officers now serving the banks?
It is really painful to see the proliferation of fraudsters, corrupt and morally debased people in almost all sectors. The rise of people at the helm of Destiny, Evaly, Eorange could not be possible without a favourable breeding ground for corruption. Even infamous Shahed Karim of Regent Hospital pales before these apparently highly suave and well established people in society.
For the rise of corruption culture unlettered and little educated people living in villages are not even least responsible, it is the intriguing educated people on whom the nation has reposed faith and hope for delivering the goods, who have sowed the seed of corruption, nurtured it to grow into an outsize monster. Bribery is yet to be brought to an end even though government officers and employees have been enjoying now a salary package more than double the previous limit.
True, the country has made tremendous progress on its economic front with per capita income of $2,138.794 which is higher than neighbouring India's $2,116.444. But how is the income distributed among the population? A large segment of society has been rendered almost paupers by the adverse impact of the pandemic while the privileged and the rich have gained their net wealth quite significantly keeping with the global trend.
However, there is a difference: as the upper segment in the developed countries earned their profit within the legal parameter of market economy, the same cannot be said about accumulation of wealth in this country.
Devious means and intrigues have gone into making money by the fortunate few in society. Here lies the malady of socio-economic health. Unless the political leadership comes heavily on the corruption culture and unethical business practices, the fraudsters and bribe takers will continue their malpractices like business as usual.