A Conference on “Interagency Collaboration and Cooperation among the Office of Comptroller and Auditor General, Anti Corruption Commission, and Information Commission, Bangladesh”, to be held on 06 February, 2014, at Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS)

Date: 6 February 2014

It is of paramount importance to have effective collaboration and cooperation among the three key oversight institutions – Office of Comptroller and Auditor General of Bangladesh (OCAG), Anti Corruption Commission (ACC), and Information Commission (IC) to strengthen accountability, transparency and integrity in Bangladesh. Hence, it was agreed that the Heads of these institutions with their executives would meet periodically to discuss and review the issues of mutual collaboration among themselves. The venues for these meetings will rotate among IC, ACC and OCAG. The Secretaries of ACC, IC and OCAG would be designated as focal points to facilitate the coordination and collaboration meetings. This was discussed in a Conference on “Interagency Collaboration and Cooperation among the Office of Comptroller and Auditor General, Anti Corruption Commission, and Information Commission, Bangladesh. This conference was successfully organized by the Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI) and supported by the Friedrich Naumann Stiftungfür die Freiheit (FNF) under the Project on “Strengthening Information Dissemination Capacities of the Key Oversight Institutions in Bangladesh”.  The meeting was held on Thursday, February 06, 2014, at the Auditorium, Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS).

The distinguished participants have stressed on the issue in forming a platform that would allow these agencies to interact creatively and progressively. This means that the officials from these agencies would be able to discuss and share their respective strengths and improve any weaknesses to establish greater transparency and accountability in the public offices, public finances, and, in turn, will ensure access to information for the public. It was also mentioned that there are several bottlenecks for which the field level officers are not able to discharge their duties properly. Mutual sharing of existing resources, joint initiatives for advocacy and training, and coordination among the officers of OCAG, ACC and IC can greatly empower the officers to perform their roles properly.

They have suggested that more advocacy works in terms of proactive disclosure of information, trainings on the relevant laws – particularly the RTI Act and Audit regulations – for the public officials and the civil society members need to be facilitated. Panelists also think that this sort of coordination meetings among the oversight agencies in Bangladesh will enhance mutual confidence and overcome the inherited colonial hangover of mistrust and non-cooperation. Mindset of cooperation will facilitate sharing of information among each other that will help to reduce corruption by raising the quality of financial and information management and public awareness.

During the program, a report on ‘Perception Study on the Information Commission’ has been disseminated. The report highlights the need for establishing a formal platform for collaboration and coordination among OCAG, ACC and Information Commission. The report further stressed that this collaboration process should also include the National Board of Revenue, the Human Rights Commission, and the Parliamentary oversight committees such as the Public Accounts Committee to discuss and address the issues of mutual interest.

Mr. Masud Ahmed, Comptroller and Auditor General of Bangladesh, Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of Bangladesh, Ambassador (Retd.) Mohammed Farooq, Chief Information Commissioner, Information Commission Bangladesh, and Mr. M Bodiuzzaman, Chairman, Anti-Corruption Commission, Bangladesh were present as the Guests of Honour at the meeting. Among others Information commissioners and Director Generals and Directors of ACC and OCAG spoke at the event. Mr. Farooq Sobhan, President, Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI) moderated the program.