POST TIME: 31 July, 2021 08:58:03 PM
Combating corruption
At times, we see ACC officials chasing some small fishes but the big fishes remain untouched. As per the report of TIB in 2020, Bangladesh is second-worst in curbing corruption among the eight South Asian countries, with Afghanistan being the worst.
Alaul Alam

Combating corruption

It is really tough to measure the depth of irregularities occurring in the country. Only we could know a small portion disclosed through the media sources. In the most recent time, Ashrayan irregularities have been exposed in the dailies. The houses built for the poor and homeless have collapsed due to various faults including low quality building materials and poor drainage system.
A probe committee has been formed to investigate the case. They have found corruption in the construction works but the local implementing authorities concerned assigned for the work are blaming one another to save their position. The corrupt officials and the people’s representative are not so many in number but the whole country goes affected by their ill-doings. They go on ruining the fame and name of the country to gain their own profits.
Untamed corruption has been one of the most heinous social maladies threatening every sphere of the society and above all the country. Every society is aware that corruption is contagiously engulfing the humanity. But mainly, the poor and middle income countries are bearing the most brunt of corruption.
Global data claim that every country is subjected to enduring corruption but the intensity of corruption differs from one country to another. Last year in the score as per Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) Denmark and New Zealand secured 88 out of 100. So, they are the least corrupted countries. However, a country should score 100 to be declared as corruption free country. But no country has scored 100 and it indicates that all countries are corrupt to some extent.
Things do not happen the same as many countries with their relentless efforts have come out of the cocoons of the most corrupted identity and are trying to fix their position in the group of the least corrupted countries. Contrarily, many other struggle but cannot escape them from the group of the most corrupted for many reasons.
In Bangladesh context corruption is contagious. Over the years we are combating to check corruption from different angles. We have our independent Anti-Corruption Commission but in many times their activities in checking corruption are questionable. More often, reports state that a section of ACC officials are corrupt, and hardly have courage to execute their vested authorization impartially.
At times, we see ACC officials chasing some small fishes but the big fishes remain untouched. As per the report of TIB in 2020, Bangladesh is second-worst in curbing corruption among the eight South Asian countries, with Afghanistan being the worst. It is worrying that the country has scored 26 out of 100 whereas the average score of CPI 2020 is 43.
Last year in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, reports revealed that the corruption in the health sector was pervasive. The inefficiency, mismanagement and deep-rooted corruption were rampant all around. In most cases, this sector lacked monitoring and accountability for years. According to media reports, different trading companies were involved in delivering medical supplies with the DGHS. Some of the suppliers delivered low quality products, while many were reported to involve in supplying fake items as well as providing less items than the number mentioned in the contract.
On top of that, while the country was undergoing Covid-19 crisis, some public representatives and local political leaders were reported to be involved in misappropriating rice meant for vulnerable group feeding and OMS projects. In the time of emergency when people were expected to be more humane and extend their cooperation to the vulnerable communities, many found scopes to gain personal profits disregarding the public sufferings.
It is universal that corruption begets corruption. For example, when a job applicant gets a job giving bribes, he/she is in most cases deeply engrossed in finding  scopes to return the financial loss paid illegally for the job. This way corruption spreads over every corner in society. In many cases, the scenario reports that you may not be involved in corrupt activities but you may be trapped by the corrupt activities of those around you.
It is obvious that the highest and least corrupted countries are glued to the world score board. In one case the least corrupted ones are considered as model countries while the most corrupted are denied appreciation and have the less possibility to develop their lot in the national and international arena.
Corruption is not always held for economic causes. There may be some non-economic causes. But one thing is apparent that in many regards, non-economic variables are indirectly concentrated with economic ones enticing many to commit corruption. Corruption and crime go simultaneously as all sorts of corruption are considered crimes but in many cases the existing social context does not take corruption as crime.
Studies reveal that amid many causes of corruption politicization has topped. The misuse of political power has been so prevalence in the society which establishes the unethical systems breaking the ethical ones in pursuit of individuals’ personal gains. Another cause is that the corrupt government officials use their public office for private gains creating red tape complexities. The corrupt individuals go unpunished in most cases and the judicial system is slow which takes many years for a verdict.
However, corruption disrupts economic development of a country. Not only that, there are hardly any aspects which are not affected with corruption. The two variables, corruption and economic growth, stand against one another in which corruption is an independent variable and economic growth is a dependent variable. When corruption rises, economic growth falls drastically. Contrarily, when corruption decreases, economic growth rises.  
To tackle corruption the present government has announced zero tolerance against corruption. But the menace of corruption seems pervasive that breaking rules has been usual to the corrupt officials. Only the government can hardly do to check corruption in the country unless mass awareness is created. Most importantly, at every level there is no alternative to being accountable to our deeds and any unaccountability must be subjected to be faced with exemplary punishment by the law.

The writer teaches at Prime University. He is also a research scholar at the IBS. Email: [email protected]