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Making ACC Toothless - TIB urges president not to approve bill

Bangladesh on 20 November 2013
Location : Bangladesh | Source : Daily Star

Transparency International Bangladesh has appealed to the president not to consent to a bill passed recently introducing a provision that makes it mandatory for the Anti-Corruption Commission to take government’s permission before filing cases against public officials.

It also requested the president to exercise his constitutional authority to send the bill back to parliament for reconsideration.

TIB Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman yesterday at a press briefing said the organisation sent a letter to President Abdul Hamid on November 17 requesting him to take steps for dropping the controversial provision.

The Jatiya Sangsad on November 10 passed the bill amending the ACC Act, 2004 to introduce the provision, paying no heed to widespread criticism against it.

The bill will be presented before the president today or tomorrow for his consent, sources in the parliament secretariat said.

According to the constitution, the president can return the bill to parliament with a message requesting that the new provision be reconsidered. If the president exercises this authority, parliament will have second thoughts about the controversial provision.

At the press briefing at Brac centre Inn in the capital, TIB top bosses said the provision was unconstitutional and discriminatory as it gave impunity to public officials, judges and magistrates.

The provision will make many public servants more crime prone, they added.

TIB Chairperson Sultana Kamal said those, who were in judiciary, magistrates and public officials would enjoy impunity as offered in the provision of the ACC act.

“We know how corruption takes place. Often corruptions spread through them.”

Iftekharuzzaman said the government had passed such an amendment ahead of the general election just to satisfy a quarter of the administration in order to take advantage from them.

Sultana Kamal added the vested quarter had convinced the ruling party saying they would help it to come back to power.

Only people can help the ruling party win the election, she noted.

Iftekharuzzaman said the bill had been passed though the parliamentary body itself was against curtailing ACC’s power. Many other experts involved in preparing the draft of the amendment were kept in the dark when the bill was placed in parliament.

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