THE Anti-Corruption Commission chair asking the agency’s director general for administration to suggest, in a month, legal action against its employees involved in irregularities is heartening. This is so because it becomes difficult, and unethical too, for the commission to combat corruption and irregularities in public spheres when the commission has its employees, even of the ranks of deputy director, assistant director and deputy assistant director, mostly at the district level, involved in corruption. This is also important in that an agency having people with tainted character cannot fight corruption with integrity as people in law enforcement having blood on their hands cannot act with integrity. The commission has received in the past six months, as New Age reported on Thursday, complaints from sources against 15 of its employees of receiving bribe from government officials who are accused of irregularities in exchange for exemption from the charges, of extorting money from businesspeople and public servants threatening their incrimination in corruption cases. A commission official further said that evidences that the commission has received suggest that some of the commission officials have taken bribe and left flaws in the inquiry and investigation reports to save the skins of some suspects.
Such a picture of the corruption by commission employees is worrying and, therefore, unacceptable. The commission needs to completely stop corrupt practice that its employees sometimes resort to both in the interest of justice dispensation and for people not to lose people’s confidence in its activities against corruption. The commission, as its own statistics show, has initiated departmental proceedings against 26 of its employees on charges of being involved in corruption and irregularities. The commission is also reported to have started sudden inspection of its offices in Dhaka and in outlying districts. Yet such actions of the commission hardly seem to be deterrent enough. Only the initiation of departmental proceedings against the accused may not resolve the problem. The commission needs to take legal action by filing criminal cases against the accused if it means to stop the malaise. It is time that the commission also thought of handing over the task of investigation to independent, impartial authority outside the commission in cases commission employees come to be accused of corruption and irregularities. If the commission officials conduct inquiry or investigation against their own employees, it leaves scope for the investigation not be impartial. By having cases against commission employees investigated by people outside the agency, it will adhere to one more principles of justice.
The Anti-Corruption Commission, which fights against corruption and irregularities in public spheres, must, therefore, now act, and early, to shore up its own home that has evidently been already tainted by some unfortunate incidents of corruption. If it sits on the issue, it will keep committing moral crimes in its journey to fight corruption and, thus, wrong the whole process the justice dispensation. It is high time that the commission realised that integrity is what matters most in fight against corruption and a delay will only tarnish its own image.
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