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27 February, 2020 00:00 00 AM
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14 graft sources in land ports identified

Special Correspondent, Dhaka
14 graft sources in land ports identified

An institutional team, formed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), has identified 14 key corruption areas in the Bangladesh Land Port Authority under the Shipping Ministry and recommended 28-point measures to prevent such corruption. ACC Commissioner Mozammel Haque Khan handed over the report to the State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury at the Secretariat yesterday.

“The ACC has formed 25 institutional teams to identify areas and sources of corruption in various ministries and departments. The teams have been asked to find out sources of corruption and recommend steps to prevent corruption, after identifying loopholes in the existing law, systemic flaws in the rules, lack of institutional capacity and shortage of manpower,” the ACC commissioner told reporters after submitting the report.

He also said an institutional team, comprising a deputy director and an assistant director and headed by a director of the commission, has been formed to monitor and analyse the laws, rules, management procedures, public money-laundering aspects of the ports, and recommend measures to prevent corruption.

The team has collected information by holding discussions with retired officials of the port, presently working officers, and those who have a good idea, said Mozammel Haque Khan. Besides, the team has identified the areas of corruption after reviewing the reports of the victims, along with information published in various newspapers, related to irregularities and corruption in land ports, he added.

"The ACC has just submitted its recommendations, and we are yet to go through the report," Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury told reporters after receiving the ACC report. “We will take action as per the recommendations of the ACC. No corruption will be tolerated. Besides, the Prime Minister has declared zero tolerance regarding corruption in every sector,” the state minister said while answering a question.

Khalid said they will take steps against the 14-point areas of corruption in land ports identified by the ACC. “We have already taken some measures. It is true that there are some problems in this sector. We have accepted every point of the ACC and action will be taken after analysing the report,” he added. Creating a corruption-free Bangladesh is a challenge for the government, he said, adding that the ministry has received the ACC report as a document. Khalid also said there has been a huge development in this sector in the last 11 years too.

The 14-point areas of corruption are: dishonest customs officials help bring in imported goods without tax due to inadequate security measures in most of the land ports; local influential persons participate in government procurement by submitting fake documents in the tender process; manpower is appointed through outsourcing and salaries are drawn in the name of absent persons; the port authorities failed to take action against any official for serving at one place for a long time due to local syndication; inefficient contractors are appointed for handling goods; some customs officials are involved in releasing goods without checking documents properly as per the tariff policy; the customs division is called the gate keeper of the nation in land ports, but they don’t follow the trade policy; a powerful circle, with the help of some employees, is involved in stealing ports' goods; the port authorities allegedly invited tenders in various small packages instead of big works to embezzle public money; appointments, transfer and posting are not done properly in land ports; the CBA leaders and workers do not discharge their duties properly rather they are involved in making money through bribe from contractors; there are allegations against port officials and workers as they demand bribe for land port services; most of the land port office buildings, sheds, yards and weighbridges are being operated illegally by temporary people appointed locally, known as "tendul", instead of the ports' permanent employees and the same person is appointed as part-time member of the board of directors of the land port authority.

The ACC has recommended introduction of an automation system to handle goods in every land port in phases and formation of vigilance teams comprising port and customs officials. Administrative and legal action can be taken with the help of customs intelligence report to reduce corruption. Transparency can be ensured at the port through coordination, monitoring, supervision, and regular evaluation of port activities. The port’s own equipment, such as cranes and forklifts, can be used to handle goods and a separate monitoring cell can be formed to ensure overall security, including the operating system, of international passenger terminals to prevent corruption.  

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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