The Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has called for strict and unbiased enforcement of the prime minister's pledge that no irregularity shall be tolerated in government response to the crisis related to Covid-19.
A TIB press statement on Wednesday said the prime minister's statement confirms TIB's demand that there is no alternative to the highest-level transparency and effective corruption control as a prerequisite for successful response to this type of major crisis.
The TIB said it now remains in the hands of Sheikh Hasina's party leaders, activists and beneficiaries at all levels, administration, law enforcement agencies, including the police, to enforce her pledge.
On the other hand, in this extraordinary situation, although public procurement may genuinely need to be fast-tracked, all measures must be taken to ensure accountability, said the TIB.
It also called on the government to guarantee that the supply chain of food and other essential daily consumables remains intact.
Dr Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of the TIB, said the prime minister's strong statement was well-expected.
He said, "As much as the prime minister's pledge is encouraging, it is now incumbent upon her party leaders, activists, supporters and beneficiaries to effectively enforce it.
"People would expect them not only to be respectful to her pledge, but also refrain from taking advantage of this extraordinary national crisis for involving in illicit practices for political mileage, corruption, abuse, misappropriation and extortion."
Referring to the good examples in Shibchar of Madaripur and Bahubal of Habiganj set by the prompt action taken against perpetrators of misappropriation of government supplied low-price rice and edible oil, Dr Iftekharuzzaman said, "Although those involved were locally influential for links with ruling party or otherwise, the rigour with which the relevant administration officials and police acted has encouraged us.
"But on the other hand, credible complaint has been reported that some members of the police misappropriated money from cash boxes of some shops in Sitakunda in the pretext that the shops were kept open.
"We want to consider this Sitakunda incident as an isolated one and hope that the Shibchar and Bahubal examples will be the model to follow by everyone in administration and law enforcement across the country. In case of any deviation exemplary disciplinary actions must be ensured."