ACC cannot afford to lose public trust

The Daily Star  July 13, 2019

ACC cannot afford to lose public trust

The anti-graft body’s probe report reveals negligence of its officials

We compliment the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for its probe report that has found negligence of some of its investigating officials that resulted in an innocent man, Jaha Alam, languishing in jail for three years. The ACC has had the courage to shoulder the blame which does not happen usually. The High Court must be especially commended for ordering the ACC to submit its internal committee report on those responsible for Jaha Alam’s wrongful arrest and imprisonment. Thanks to the HC’s intervention, we now know the details of the negligence, flaws and violation of rules by ACC officials in charge of investigating the case.

But the level of utter callousness these officials have demonstrated is shocking. The probe report has found that although 12 ACC officials investigated the case, none of them visited Jaha Alam’s house. The deputy director, who was assigned to carry out the inquiry of the case of embezzlement against Abu Salek, the actual accused in the case filed, did not make any field visits in the 14 months he took to carry out the inquiry. Instead, ACC officials relied on the bank officials to find the accused in the case filed which led to Jaha Alam being wrongfully implicated.

Now that the report has come out, we hope the ACC will see to its expeditious implementation and take measures that such errors do not happen in ACC’s work. The anti-graft body should take heed of the recommendations given in the probe report which include forming a supervising panel with experienced officers to prevent such occurrences in the future.

The ACC is an independent, powerful body and unless it takes steps to ensure that investigations are done with due diligence and sincerity, it will lose public trust, keeping which is vitally necessary for their work.

In the case of Jaha Alam, we are happy that he has been vindicated and is now free although at the cost of three years of his life lost in jail. We now await the outcome of the HC hearing which is scheduled for July 16.

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