Tougher action against graft this year: ACC chief

Published: January 11, 2017 Updated: 11:27 pm

Chairman of the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) Iqbal Mahmood on Wednesday the Commission will get even tougher against graft suspects this year to effectively fight corruption in the country.

“Anti-corruption issues should be inclusive. We want to minimise corruption involving general people…our action will be harsher this year,” he told a press briefing at the Commission’s media centre in the capital.

Iqbal Mamood said surveillance on corruption-prone public agencies will be strengthened in 2017 and some innovative measures will be taken to upgrade database of the Commission.

Revealing official data, the ACC chief said 13 graft suspects were caught red-handed while taking bribes through setting traps in 2016 and the ACC also filed cases against them. “More traps are coming up this year, too. Those who take bribe and who give bribe are both offenders,” he added.

Iqbal Mahmood said the Commission arrested 388 graft suspects in 2016 as they tried to avoid interrogation and court appearance.

He said the ACC filed 339 cases and submitted 528 charge-sheets before courts last year. Graft accused were convicted in 54 percent cases in 2016 while the success rate of the ACC’s cases were only 37 percent in 2015.

“But, we want to see cent percent conviction in the graft cases filed by the Commission,” he added.

The ACC chairman said there is no alternative to ensuring good governance aiming to achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs) and that is why the ACC is working sincerely to ensure governance through combating and preventing corruption.

He said the Commission wants to spread global good practices many countries follow to prevent corruption across the country, so it is working to sign memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with Indonesia, India, the USA, Singapore, Hong Kong, Russia and Austria.

“Meanwhile, the Asian Development Bank has provided US$ 5 lakh to the ACC to prepare a digital database,” he said.

He said a hotline – number 106 – will be introduced in 2017, which will be a toll-free one, and people will be able to put forward their complaints dialing this number from all phone operators.

The ACC chief informed that the prosecution unit of the Commission will be strengthened hiring skilled lawyers, while an intelligence unit will be formed in it to strengthen anti-corruption drives.

He said the Commission neither received any green signal nor gave any signal to the investigation into the much-talked-about Basic Bank loan scam. “Like traffic signal of city streets, no green signal works in the Commission. Its officials work independently,” he said.

Replying to a query, Iqbal Mahmood admitted that they are taking a little bit more time to complete probe into the loan scam as there are so many complex issues involved in the scam.

But, he said, nobody will be spared if the ACC finds their involvement in the loan scam.

In 2015, the ACC filed 56 cases against bank officials and businessmen for allegedly swindling out money from Basic Bank, excluding key graft suspect – ex-chairman of the bank Sheikh Abdul Hye Bacchu.

According to an inquiry of Bangladesh Bank, about Tk 4,500 crore was swindled out from Basic Bank during six years while Sheikh Abdul Hye Bacchu served as its chairman.

ACC commissioner Dr Md Nasiruddin Ahmed and its secretary Abu M Mustafa Kamal were present at the press briefing.

National Desk (UNB)