Besides providing conditional assistance, international development and aid organisations like the World Bank and UNDP are in the business of telling developing countries like Bangladesh what to do.
And they do so with a palpable air of moral superiority.
These bodies have routinely criticised Bangladesh for political corruption, lack of accountability, and a lack of transparency.
Imagine our shock, then, when it was revealed by the Bangladesh Customs Intelligence that several high-ranking officials from the World Bank, UNDP, and ILO have been found guilty of abusing their powers for personal gain.
It turns out their moral ground was possibly not as high as they liked to portray, and their priority should perhaps be to root out the corruption within their own ranks.
According to the Bangladesh Customs Intelligence investigations, the officials, including as eminent a personage as the former country director of one of the most respected INGOs, abused duty-free facilities granted to them to evade taxes on imported luxury cars.
The World Bank, UNDP, and ILO are giants in the international development and aid community and have historically been seen as benevolent benefactors who provide financial assistance to struggling nations with the sole intent of facilitating development, when in fact, their so-called assistance comes with many strings attached.
Now it turns out that onerous conditionalities are not their only shortcoming.
Given how these very organisations rarely hesitate to blame our development woes on our internal corruption, it is ironic that their officials have now come up in CIID’s investigation.
These well-meaning organisations should be reminded that they need to practice what they preach if they wish to make an impact.