07 January 2023
Dhaka, 7 January 2023: The authority over transfers and placements of the Anti-Corruption Commission’s (ACC) investigative officers has been shifted to the government-appointed secretary. This administrative power was previously under the jurisdiction of the Chairman and Commissioners. Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has expressed concerns that this will curtail the authority of the ACC and has called for the immediate withdrawal of the decision.
Referring to the office order on delegation of administrative and financial power issued on the ACC website on 18 December 2022, TIB Executive Director Dr. Iftekharuzzaman said in a press statement that relevant ACC law gives all executive authority to the chairman and the commissioners. He said that questions may be raised if such a move was taken to suppress this important Commission. “How was the core mandate of the Commission transferred to the secretary who represents the government? The logic behind this is unclear. We have to know if this decision was taken consciously or is it just another sinister attempt to turn the Commission into a toothless tiger. We need logical answers to understand why the Commission would transfer authority to the secretary or the bureaucracy,” said Dr. Iftekharuzzaman.
As per media reports, the ACC has explained that the decision was in line with the structure of different public offices and divisions. TIB ED Dr. Iftekharuzzaman has commented that such an explanation clearly shows that the Commission does not understand that it is not a government office in the first place. He said that such a move would not only give authority to the bureaucracy over transfers and placements, but this suicidal decision will also shift jurisdictions over the regularisation of jobs, regular duties, allowances, vacations, pensions, Post Retirement Leave, and rewards for case completion for investigative officers. “There is nothing left to turn the ACC into the government bureau it was initially launched as,” said the TIB ED.
Expressing disappointment, Dr. Iftekharuzzaman further said, “As per the No. 4 decision of section-Chha of the office order, all jurisdictions under Section 16 of the ACC Act have been transferred to the secretary with ‘full authority’. This is just the final nail in the coffin of public aspirations. We wanted an independent and neutral Anti-Corruption Commission, which is clearly stated in Section 3(2) of the ACC Act.”
TIB sees this as another disappointing example of blatant violation of the Prime Minister’s zero-tolerance policy against corruption. The anti-corruption organisation calls for the immediate withdrawal of the decision in question.