It is not possible to prevent corruption if the rule of law is weak, said Professor Mushtaq H Khan, of economics at the SOAS University of London, at a seminar in Dhaka on Wednesday.
"Apart from that, it is not possible to stop corruption only with transparency and accountability. For this, along with transparency and accountability, power and interest must be put together," said Professor Mushtaq, who is also the chief executive of the Anti-Corruption Evidence (ACE) Research Consortium.
Organised by the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), its Director General Binayak Sen moderated the seminar titled "Kazi Ali Toufique Memorial Lecture".
He said corruption has become a disease all over the world. "It should be stopped, not suppressed."
Binayak Sen also said that it may not be possible to empower everyone in society equally.
"But efforts must be in place. This requires some policy changes. All parties such as political power should come forward to stop corruption," he added.
While presenting a paper on "Power, Governance and Feasible Anti-Corruption", Professor Mushtaq H Khan said in a society where everyone is powerful, one cannot commit corruption. In such a society, if someone wants to break the rules and go away, others can stop them.
On the other hand, it is relatively easy for an influential person to indulge in corruption in an area of mostly weak people, he went on.
Commenting that corruption has emerged as a major problem worldwide, he said, many people think that corruption will be reduced if transparency and accountability are ensured.
Keeping this in mind, all corruption control activities are being conducted in the country and abroad. But in reality, it can be seen that despite all this, corruption is not decreasing. Rather, it is increasing in some cases, he added.
Professor Mushtaq H Khan said, "Corruption cannot be stopped only by one to two means. Apart from that, corruption is not at the same level in all cases. In some cases, good work is also being done. For this, a sector-wise review should be done. After that, efforts should be made to stop corruption."
He also claimed that if equality is established in society, there will be no corruption. Apart from that, even if the powerful side wants to reduce corruption, it pays off.
He said here that "powerful" does not mean a person with supreme authority or the head of the state.
"It is possible to stop corruption at the local level if local influential people and public representatives want. It is impossible for the vulnerable people at the local level," he added.
Professor Mushtaq H Khan also said that in many cases, those who are supposed to take measures against corruption are either weak, have less power, or have no interest.
As an example, he said, if a dam or a cyclone shelter is built somewhere, there is corruption in many cases. But if local powerful people think that dam or shelter will be of some benefit to him then he interferes in this matter. Then it will be easy to prevent corruption.