Transparency International Bangladesh has urged the government to make sure that the activities of relief committees of the Awami League are limited to cooperation with local administration in relief distribution programmes.
The civil-society organisation came up with the demand while giving a cautious reaction to the ruling party's announcement to form relief committees up to ward levels to cooperate in relief distribution activities amid the coronavirus crisis.
In a press statement issued on Friday, TIB said even though the participation of all irrespective of political differences is crucial during any national emergency, it is not unusual to cast doubt on the effectiveness of these 'political committees' in ensuring transparency in relief distribution in a situation when various reports are being published by the media on political leaders' involvement in corruptions and embezzlement relief goods.
TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman said the country and the countrymen are passing a crisis moment amid the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
"Destitute people are suffering the most. Moreover, losing jobs has added to the crisis. Government aids should reach all of these people. There is no scope of political and personal choices in this regard," he said.
Appreciating various legal steps taken by the administration against irregularities, the TIB executive director said, "To ensure transparency in relief programmes, the government has to monitor these activities alongside performing their own tasks with honesty."
The committees should not turn into a platform of political supremacy and irregularities, he warned.
Alongside exhibiting the lists of beneficiaries, the amount of relief and the distribution dates in public, the local union parishad can also upload this information to their websites, Dr Iftekharuzzaman said, adding that it will help journalists and common people verify any incident of irregularities.
"There is no alternative to utmost clarity and effective corruption control to combating this kind of crisis successfully, he emphasised.
The implementation of the prime minister's strict warning against irregularities in relief programmes irrespectively depends on all political leaders, activities, beneficiaries, administration, police and other law enforcement agencies.