Thousands of people call the Anti-Corruption Commission every day, asking the watchdog to take measures against the pandemic corruption they come across.
Insiders say the commission receives on average 6,500 calls every working day through its hotline number 106, a platform for receiving allegations.Many, who leak information to the ACC, express dissatisfaction as the watchdog fails to net the big fish.
People from any corner of the country can make phone call free of cost and share allegation of corruption with the ACC men.
ACC Chairman Iqbal Mahmood said, “The ACC hotline services launched with a view to preventing corruption immediately before it is committed. Now the hotline 106 has become a platform among people to submit allegations of corruption.”
“The commission continues anti-graft drives to ensure corruption- and hassle-free services for the people at the government offices. The ACC will carry out drives if any service seeker makes phone calls to the ACC hotline 106 after being harassed or victims of corruption at public offices,” he said.
Record shows that the anti-graft watchdog received around 31 lakh calls in two years since its inauguration on July 27, 2017 to July 31, this year.
The anti-graft body formed a special enforcement unit led by a Director General (DG) to carry out drives and taking legal action based on the allegations.After scrutinizing the graft allegations received from the callers, the commission conducted 626 drives to prevent corruption in the last two years across the country. The ACC conducted 470 drives only in the first seven months of the current year.
Following the allegations got through the hotline, ACC selected 43 allegations to carry out investigation in the last two years.
A number of corrupt government officials and employees were suspended from their job by the recommendation of the ACC enforcement team while 22 officials face show cause notices in the period.
During the ACC drives, the mobile court of local administration awarded 19 people different term of jail and some others were fined.
ACC enforcement unit stopped construction work of around 23 Kilometres of roads due to corruption while it evicted 219 illegal establishments.The commission stopped corruption in 26 tender processes while it also prevented some corruption regarding recruitment.
ACC officials also said more than 50 illegal Gas and electricity connections were disconnected while they recovered 73 decimal (Khas) land with the help of local administration in the last two years based on the hotline allegations.
Following the allegation received by the hotline, the anti-graft watchdog also caught several government officials and employees red-handed with bribe conducting trap case.
However, the ACC could not accept many of the complaints received through the hotline 106 as the allegations were not related to ACC.
ACC Chairman Iqbal Mahmood urged the government offices to provide smooth free services saying that the services are constitutional rights of people.
ACC Deputy Director Pranab Kumar Bhattacharjee said, “The commission’s hotline service has gained popularity among people as we are getting a huge number of calls every day.” “This will help ACC find out corruption incidents in the shortest possible time,” he added.
In January, 2017, ACC got approval for the number (106) from the Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited (BTCL) to launch a hotline.
After the approval, on July 27, 2017, the then Finance Minister AMA Muhith inaugurated the hotline to record graft allegation through a ceremony at the ACC’s headquarters in the capital.
Speaking at the inaugural session, Muhith said people who have power are involved in corruption, and everybody is indirectly involved in graft. “Corruption is in our blood ... we’ve got bogged down in this menace.”
Muhith stressed the need for applying modern technologies to check graft in the country as technologies create a lot of scope for preventing the social menace.
ACC set up the hotline center at the third floor of the commission head office where five officials of the commission receive phone calls every working day from 9:00am to 5:00pm.
All the activities of the hotline center is being monitored digitally while the ACC’s top officials are regularly visiting the center to monitor its work.
Upon receiving a call, the hotline operators will try to understand the type of corruption allegation and find out whether it is ACC-scheduled graft incident or not.
Then, they will write down the complaint from voice record and deliver it to the relevant department for further scrutiny and investigation.