Aug 122012

Transparency International, Bangladesh (TIB) has found 18 sectors at the office of the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) are plagued with corruption, requiring a bribe of maximum 15 percent for getting a job done.

The findings came through an investigation which prompted the civil society organisation that monitors and publicises political and corporate corruption to make a set of 23 recommendations to check corruption.

TIB revealed its investigation outcome at a roundtable held at CIRDAP auditorium on Sunday.

Former Comptroller and Auditor General Hafizuddin Khan, a member of TIB, blamed absence of government’s attention for prevalence of corruption at one of the most important administrative offices of the state.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith, however, questioned the investigation.

The areas overwhelmed with corruption includes formulation of new pay scale, disbursement of first salary and bonus, contractor’s payment, transportation maintenance and fuel expenditure, internet and telephone bill, courier bill, labour payment, conveyance bills, contingency bill, pension and time scale formulation.

Regularisation of staffs, annual increment, consultant fee, recreation fee, outfit allowance, cheque delivery, provident fund and amending incorrect information in reports prepared by CGA are also among the other corruption infested.

The Berlin-based watchdog’s local chapter also found corruption in appointment, promotion and transfer at the office.

According to TIB observation, the CGA office is institutionally weak, stumbling into lack of skilled manpower against a problematic and complex organogram. Accounts system at the office suffers from lack of transparency while poor coordination between the office of CGA and the Ministry of Finance is hindering the institution’s activities, said TIB.

The problems TIB held responsible for making the office’s condition deplorable are interference by politicians and the ministry, lack of accountability and supervision, inadequate logistics support and absence of training for CGA officials.

The investigation reports said, as a result, state expenditure is increasing, financial accounts are not reflecting the reality properly, right decision cannot be taken in the budget and economic development is being hampered.

TIB asked for making the CGA office independent by amending the Constitution in its recommendations.

Moderated by TIB Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman, the roundtable was presided over by TIB Trustee Board Chairman Sultana Kamal.

Finance Minister Muhith was present when the investigation report was made public.

“TIB reports are not always right as those are prepared on public perception. But it is generally perceived that it (irregularities) prevails there,” he said.

Muhith lament the office’s failure to hand over pension to people timely. “I regret delay in getting pension. Pension is withheld for any piece of paper. You (CGA officials) do not abide by laws, (you) create laws.”

Hafizuddin Khan wondered why the position of Comptroller and Auditor General has been vacant for the last seven months.

“The office that keeps account of the state’s expenditure does not have a chief for seven months. I don’t think anybody is willing to care about getting a man in the office,” he added.