NEWSLINE

In search of superior fraud!

Khawaza Main Uddin | Update:

A university teacher recently expressed surprise at the surprise expressed by some about allegations of fraud in deciding the winner of the beauty pageant contest in Dhaka. In his social media post, the professor called them morons for their vehement protest only at this stage-managed selection since, he argued, corruption is a normal practice in most other sectors including employment.

Such public reaction may also mean the commoners want to see fair play everywhere - perhaps a too idealistic aspiration in view of circumstances prevailing in this country.

In fact at a time when means that are not truly fair, dictate the rules of most of the games,it is really surprising that the people react angrily to an incident of malpractice, if it is exposed, no matter how small it is.

Crowned Miss Word Bangladesh through questionable process, the ‘poor’ girl is much inferior, intellectually, to the two Dhaka University teachers who are accused of plagiarism by a US publisher.

Despite being the key beneficiary of the tainted contest, she is not the source of corruption in the selection of who would also represent Bangladesh in its global version of the competition in Chinanext month.

Initially, all fingers were pointed at the organiser but the gentleman has largely escaped public wrath.

Now as the controversial winner is almost set to be stripped of the crown for hiding her marital status, the man blamed for the manipulation would simultaneously be free from the charge. The people may forget some day that he was responsible for cheating the actual winner as alleged by the judges.

In the case of the two teachers, they themselves proved some merit of the allegation by blaming each other. As each of them alleged the other plagiarised the writing of Michael Foucault, at least one of them was telling lies. The countrymen will be curiously waiting to see if the university’s superior authorities punish the fraudsters.

There is an unfortunate commonality in the impact of thesecontroversies - both the episodes pervade Bangladesh’sgeographical boundary.

In early 2016, Bangladesh had captured global headlines for giving birth to an incident of the world’s largest cyber heist.

Yes, an amount of US$81 million, stolen from Bangladesh Bank’s foreign exchange reserve deposited with New York’s Federal Reserve Bank, had landed in the Philippines, but its origin was Dhaka and collaborators were staying on the floor of the country’s central bank. Manila had at least held a Senate hearing but the government of Bangladesh has not even published the probe report on the robbery aftermissing repeated deadlines to do so.

This incident followed a series of scams in the financial sector at home.

Abdul Hye Bachchu, who chaired the board of the state-owned BASIC Bank during the pilferage of more than Tk 34.93 billion through loan forgery, still remains a free citizen.

Hall-Mark made a hallmark by swindling over Tk 40 billion Sonali Bank money through fraudulent means but the people were ‘amused’ by the finance minister’scomment that it was not a very big amount. Hall-Mark’s managing director Tanvir Mahmud has been behind the barsfor quite some time but those who took the money from him remain untouched.

So were the manipulators of the share market crash of 2010-11 that made thousands of small investors poor. It is hard to determine which of these isat all a financial crime, let alone a major punishable offence.

If blessed, a contractor could draw money from the exchequer leaving works of development projects half-done.A ruling party man could manage to escape the gallows at the last minute and instead resume his political career.

The currents of corruption, malpractice and scams,and sometimes well-planned propaganda whenever required, eclipse the previous incidents. Thus, the people apparently forget they were denied more than once the right to vote for making their choice of leadership that is supposed to present good governance and distribute state benefits with justice.

Many people, in their reactions in the social media networks, often make too personal attacks while ventilating their grievances on important issues or commenting on revelation of someone’s faults. They may utilisethe occasion to say what they cannot do and thus be satisfied with venting their protest atcertain misdeeds. A holistic outlook is missing in our social and political discourse.

As a result, hardly any offenders get punishment, and that too is not for upholding justice or corrective process but for victimising a few who are incidentally considered surplus of a polluted system.

Is it possible to keep one particular organ safe when cancer spread all over the body of a human being?

* Khawaza Main Uddin is a journalist. He can be contacted at khawaza@prothom-alo.info

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