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TIB study finds corruption in the Office of Comptroller and Auditor General

 
 
 

A new study by Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) to analyse the nature and extent of corruption and various irregularities in the Office of Comptroller and Auditor General found unabated corruption in this constitutional body resulting from legal, institutional and organizational limitations. The study highlighted how the constitutionally independent office has become tainted with irregularities for external and internal factors, when its job is to prevent financial anomalies in government offices, statutory bodies and foreign-funded projects. The research was done between March 2013 and December 2014 and is based on interviews of 68 government and semi-government officials, 24 incumbent and former officials of the OCAG and ministries and also two experts.

The report found that though the CAG has got some momentum in its operations in the last 5 years and some positive changes had taken place, institutional and legal limitations still crippling its performance. Also transparency in public expenditure has jeopardised as audit objections are not properly reflected because of the corruption of its officials and employees during audit process and non-realization of public money that have been embezzled and misused through corruption. The findings of the study also indicate that the 

 
 
 
 
 

OCAG had lost its ability to control corruption, and there are complaints of widespread irregularities and corruption in getting favours in matters of recruitments, promotions, postings and trainings. Along with political influences in recruitment, complaints have it that top officials are taking bribes ranging from Tk 300,000 to Tk 500,000 for appointing auditors, their subordinates, and drivers. There are also allegations that groups of auditors allegedly receive Tk 10,000 to Tk 500,000 as bribes from the audit unit.

 

Along with six ministers, two state ministers, chief of a parliamentary standing committee, an MP, and a member of the PSC (Public Service Commission), political leaders lobbied and pressed for recruiting an official into the OCAG. It can be said those who are supposed to control corruption has become uncontrolled - Iftekharuzzaman


 

The payments of bribes starts from Tk 4,000 to Tk 150,000 in civil audits, work audits, audit of foreign-aided projects, commerce, defence, disposal of objections, posting, telecommunication, science and technology, disposal of long-standing objections, and the selection of the auditors.

 
 

The report was released on 29 January through a press conference in Dhaka. TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman while commenting on the findings said that there was allegation that, in some cases, ‘partisan political consideration’ was given precedence even in the appointment of the comptroller and auditor general. “Along with six ministers, two state ministers, chief of a parliamentary standing committee, an MP, and a member of the PSC (Public Service Commission), political leaders lobbied and pressed for recruiting an official into the OCAG. It can be said those who are supposed to control corruption has become uncontrolled,” he said.

The picture of the corruption in the office of the CAG is unacceptable. The institution that is supposed to unveil corruption has fallen victim to widespread corruption. There is no other alternative to remedying this,” Dr Zaman further added.

TIB also placed a total of twenty recommendations to bring transparency in OCAG and improve overall governance.