Absolute integrity of ACC investigators is imperative

The dragnet against corruptionis seemingly gathering a momentum looking at recent Anti Corruption Commission’s (ACC’s) activities .It has created some satisfaction in people’s minds that what they were demanding but felt afraid to say it in many cases, is happening. The hitherto immune or untouchable onesare now being dragged in some cases into prison vans and the stage is being set for subjecting them to the due processes of the law.
But questions are asked by the hard-boiled observers whether this euphoria will last. This is because arresting and detaining individualsfor corruption is one thing. The successful investigations of their corrupt activities and then prosecuting them accordingly, involves the real challenge. This suspicion is deepening even from the manner cases have been started against somepersons who were detained at the outset. Charge-sheets have been framed for prosecution against few of them . But the same are seen to be only mild compared to the massive corruptions they have indulged in or gained from in their heyday. If the investigation processes continue in this manner, then there would be reasons to apprehend that only similar mild cases of corruption will be found against the rest many persons who were named in the first list of the corrupt.
If it goes on like this, the courts will be handicapped from passing befitting judgement in these corruption cases from lack of appropriate evidences. The courts or the judges are prisoners to the system of evidences. They are not to investigate on their own and are expected to deliver judgment after reviewing only the charges which are presented to them and proved to be valid. Thus, the presentation of weak cases strengthen the prospects of the accused or make it easier for them to escape hard punishment proportionate to their anticipated crimes.
One top functionary of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) sought to allay fears by saying that progressively more and more charges would be attached to the charge-sheeted ones. But he did not sound convincing. As the adage goes that the ‘ morning shows the day’, so the starting off of the investigation process has been hardly inspirational. It appears that the investigators are going after the molehills as proofs of corruption while bypassing the mountains. Abundant evidences of corrupt dealings on shockingly large scale are there. Why the investigators are failing to draw on these, is increasingly posing as a big question mark. Thus, attention of the government needs to be drawn to this phenomenon. As already stated, there is no lack of sincerity on the part of the highest level leadership in this administration against deep cleansing corruption. But their objective regrettably stands to be frustrated or not realised to the extent as is necessary, only for not ensuring the utmost efficiency and incorruptibility in the investigation processes.
The ACC has had change at the helm. But this change will not reflect positively in its day to day working as long as the agents of vested interest groups remain in powerful active duties at this anti-graft body. They must be identified and weeded out thoroughly at the fastest and their vacant ranks filled with persons of unquestionable character and efficiency. This would be absolutely necessary for ensuring fair investigations to be able to make the accused ones suffer punishment commensurate to their crimes. And not only the ACC, the investigation processes of all other agencies need to be made truly efficient and above any charge that these are under any sort of undesirable influences.
The investigations will be considered as really successful when these lead to unearthing of ill gotten resources transferred by the accused to so called safe havens abroad. Most of them have allegedly transferred abroad vast sums of money or have bought immovable properties in foreign countries. The ends of justice will be seen to have been met only after these are identified and the Bangladesh government gains possession over them. The same must be returned to Bangladesh and the sales proceeds from them should go to the government’s coffers. Nothing short will quite convince the people that the corruption czars have not been able to enjoy the fruits of their crimes. Even within the country, investigations will have to be conducted with the greatest efficiency and integrity for finding out wholly or as nearly as possible the material possessions linked to corruption and misuse of power. The same will have to be confiscated by the state and made public properties. Presently, the dragnet is mainly against unscrupulous politicians, businessmen and terrorists. But in all fairness, the dragnet must also extend to top bureaucrats who have also amassed huge fortunes though corruption and influence peddling. They must be similarly identified and put through the legal processes for punishment and their properties –acquired illegally– must be taken over by the state.
But doing of all of these things will essentially require the unflinching integrity and dedication to their jobs of the investigators. They are likely to be approached with many temptations to dissuade them from working thoroughly. Thus, it would be of the greatest importance for the Prime Minister and her team to make sure that all investigators from different agencies are hand-picked ones for their strength of character and capabilities. Not only that, they should be also under surveillance to learn whether they are succumbing to temptations. The ones found guilty on this score will have to be immediately taken-off their investigation jobs and penalised heavily in the public view.