'All (ACC staff) are not innocent. No one can guarantee that all are 100% honest'
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the public perception that many Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) staff are engaged in corrupt practices was not fully false.
"All (ACC staff) are not innocent. No one can guarantee that all are 100% honest," the prime minister told parliament in reply to a question from ruling Awami League MP Maj (retd) Rafiqul Islam (Chandpur-5) on Wednesday, reports UNB.
"The ACC will have to be careful from now on regarding those (ACC staff) who work [investigate] so that they cannot get involved in such activities which create such public perceptions," Sheikh Hasina added.
Earlier, answering a question from Jatiya Party lawmaker Rawshan Ara Mannan (reserved seat 47), the premier warned that all parties involved in bribery will be held accountable for corruption and brought to justice.
“Those who take and those who give bribes are equally responsible for committing a crime. Both parties will be held accountable and brought to book. Giving bribes is also a crime. Apart from those who are committing the crime, we also want to take action against those who are instigating it,” the prime minister added.
The question from Rawshan came at a time when a senior police official accused an Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) director of taking bribes in exchange for a “clean sheet” in a graft investigation against him.
The ACC official who has been suspended has denied the allegations, while the police official has claimed he has proof of the crime. The ACC said that a departmental inquiry would be conducted in this regard.
The prime minister also told parliament her government has a special plan to gradually reduce corruption to a zero level by strengthening the ACC, raising public awareness, and using modern information technology.
Hasina added there was no need to form a separate agency comprising of manpower from various elite forces as the ACC now gets cooperation from any government agency whenever the anti-graft body seeks it.
Noting that the ACC is an independent and autonomous body, she said the commission explores and investigates any corruption allegation neutrally.
“Therefore, the trend in corruption among staff and officials at different ministries and departments is decreasing gradually,” Sheikh Hasina said.
At the same time the premier also sought cooperation from all, including lawmakers, public representatives, and noted personalities, irrespective of party and opinion, to work together to stamp-out irregularities, injustices and corruption from society for continued development, reports BSS.
“I seek cooperation from all, including lawmakers and public representatives, irrespective of party and opinion, to work together to put an end to social irregularities, including corruption,” she said in parliament.
Sheikh Hasina, leader of the house and Awami League president, also sounded a note of warning that irrespective of their political affiliations, stern action will be taken against those found to be involved in committing corruption and crimes causing irregularities and injustice in society.
Replying to another query from Rowshan Ara, Sheikh Hasina said it is essential to socially resist the culprits involved in sexually harassing girls at educational institutions as it is not possible to deal with the issue only with laws.
She urged public representatives to form a committee in every locality comprising of guardians, teachers, representatives from religious institutions, and distinguished personalities of society, to prevent sexual harassment.
The committee will not tolerate such offences in society, she said, adding that even she does not spare her party men involved in such activities.
She said all injustice will be eliminated from society if public representatives work together with a cross section of people in their own localities to this end.