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Sunday, 30 December, 2001, 20:03 GMT
Bangladesh corruption targeted
Dhaka market
The watchdog says corruption is endemic in the country
By the BBC's Moazzem Hossain in Dhaka

The international anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International has called for an independent commission to investigate high-level corruption in Bangladesh.

The Berlin-based group says corruption is endemic in Bangladesh but the country's Anti-Corruption Bureau has limited powers.

It says the bureau is directly controlled by the prime minister's office and needs clearance to open inquiries against politicians and other senior officials.

The anti-corruption watchdog says legal complexities also prolong investigation and settlement of the cases.

Transparency International rates Bangladesh as the world's most corrupt country.

Political interference

A former director general of the Anti-Corruption Bureau, Badi-ud-Zaman, said there was not a single instance where the bureau had filed a corruption case against any politician or minister of the governing party.

Prime Minister Khaleda Zia
Prime Minister Khaleda Zia: No green light for corruption probe

Mr Zaman said corruption charges were brought against politicians only when they were out of power.

Transparency International says constant political interference and lack of political support and goodwill are the reasons for the bureau's weak performance.

The Chairman of Transparency International's Bangladesh chapter, Khan Sarwar Murshid, said they were hopeful that the government would consider their recommendation to set up an independent commission.

Some analysts say the country's main political parties support the idea but the government seems to be reluctant.

See also:

18 Dec 01 | Business
Bangladesh secures power loan
15 Nov 01 | Business
Bangladesh gas row causes strike
31 Oct 01 | South Asia
Bangladesh edges toward gas exports
11 Sep 00 | South Asia
Bangladesh bus fare price rise
15 Aug 00 | South Asia
Dhaka to raise fuel prices
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