5:18 pm - Monday June 14, 8658

Insignificant progress in graft index, Bangladesh ranks 16

Bangladesh has earned an “insignificant” progress in its fight against corruption in the current year, according to a survey report globally released yesterday by the Berlin-based NGO Transparency International.

Bangladesh ranked the 16th most corrupt country in the world in the graft index, scored 27 points out of 100 this year, one point higher than the last year when it became 13th.

Chairperson of the Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) trustee board, Sultana Kamal, however, termed it insignificant, as the country’s position still remains quite low.

TIBExecutive director of the local chapter of TIB, Dr Iftekharuzzaman said, major corruption incidents include the stockmarket, Padma bridge project, Hall Mark, Destiny, railway and RanaPlaza collapse that significantly overshadowed Bangladesh’s profile this year.

They were responding to queries by journalists at a press conference at the TIB office in the capital on Tuesday.

This year Bangladesh has been positioned 136th among 177 countries. Both Denmark and New Zealand scored 91 points each to top the global ranking jointly.

Among the seven South Asian countries, Bangladesh scored second lowest right above Afghanistan, with Bhutan at the top.

Sri Lanka has been placed in the 91st position, India 94th, Nepal 116th and Pakistan 127th.

In global ranking, Afghanistan stood the lowest while Russia scored one point more than Bangladesh.

The TI had rated Bangladesh in the lowest position in its graft perception report for five consecutive years since 2001.

The country was in the 144th position with 26 points last year.

“Bangladesh could achieve more progress if the government did not play with the Anti-Corruption Act. The government has not acted in line with its electoral pledge of fighting corruption,” said Iftekharuzzaman.

He said the political parties would tell “tall talks” in its electoral manifestos, but questions can be raised about tangible moves in this regard.

Making the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) toothless, ineffective parliament (boycotted by the main opposition), parliamentary committees dominated by interest groups, whitening of black money, reckless grabbing of public land and water bodies and government’s failure to effectively fight corruption added to the country’s poor profile, he said.

The government’s move to amend the anti-corruption law to incorporate a new provision (requiring prior approval for suing public servants on graft charges) was unconstitutional and intended to encourage corruption, he mentioned.

About the ensuing general election, TIB believed that a one-party parliament, which might be formed without participation of the main opposition, would not be able to ensure good governance and contain corruption, said Iftekharuzzaman.

The countries that scored lower than Bangladesh included Yemen, Haiti, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Venezuela, Eritrea, Cambodia, Zimbabwe, Myanmar, Burundi, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Nigeria, Iran, Cameroon, Uganda, Laos and Kazakhstan.

The TI survey focused on abuse of power, misappropriation of public fund, grand corruption at political and administrative levels and extracting extra money for public service at executive and judiciary institutions. Data was collected from February 2011 to September 2013.

Bangladesh’s score on corruption rating was based on data survey by seven globally renowned organisations, including Bertelsmann Transformation Index, Economist Intelligence Unit, Global Insight Country Risk Assessment, Political Risk Services International, World Bank Country Performance, World Economic Forum and World Justice Project.