Anti-graft Strategy

The anti-corruption watchdog agency, the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) is working on three-pronged strategy for effective action and desired outcome in its commitment to fight irregularities. It is generally assumed that the constitutional body is solely engaged in filing charges and recommending for punitive action through concerned bodies. CIAA chief Nabin Kumar Ghimire has said that the commission is active on publicity, prevention and punitive fronts to curb corruption. On the publicity front, the aim may be to make the public aware and alert regarding the menace of corruption. Corrupt officials and businessmen often try to take advantage of the ignorance of the service seekers. There is the notorious messaging about prompt and assured services if the service seekers pay the bribe. The CIAA’s promotional measures aim to thwart this strategy of the corrupt by empowering the public with true information and not to be duped by the corrupt officials and their middlemen. The need is to disseminate messages not to walk the wrong path of bribery and graft. When the public stands vigilant and educated about the consequences of corruption, the corrupt ones are discouraged. As the corrupt people act through network and syndication at various levels, the public need to be organised in an effective way to counter them. At some point, those who give bribes should also be held accountable if ignorance is not the cause of the bribery. The CIAA chief said that there is a plan to form citizens’ groups who work to curb corruption through vigilance and supervisory activities. Shaming of the corrupt people may change social attitude for better. We already have different civil society organisations that can take anti-corruption initiative in close coordination with the press and the government agencies.

The CIAA chief has aptly said that staying mum about corruption is a form of corruption. When the civil society leaders come out and speak up against this menace, this acts as a morale booster for the agencies created to fight corruption. The corrupt practice is born when responsible public service officials stop working efficiently and traders create artificial shortages. The modus operandi is to create impatience and helplessness in the service seekers. This happens due to the absence of a place where the service seekers can lodge complaints regarding the deliberate delays, inefficiencies, supply adulteration and scarcity. In some cases, undesirable activities of the middlemen are glaringly visible. But there is no official arrangement to hear public grievances and punish the responsible people. If people in powerful places stay silent about it, it amounts to protecting the corrupt. The anti-corruption move should start from the political level where clean election activities are widely called for. Use of money and muscle power during the polls is the sure recipe for a corrupt culture. Consumerist culture, extravagant lifestyle, waning moral values and weaker implementation of law have made anti-corruption battle difficult. There are still leeways and loopholes in the law and public administration that allow the corrupt to do their mean job. Fool-proof mechanism, functional system and the use of modern technologies make dubious activities hard. There is much room to make their best use and make corruption hard to take place.  

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