Rule of Law institutions of Bangladesh worship corruption

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), June 23, 2008

On Thursday (19 June 2008) the media of Bangladesh reported on a survey conducted by the Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB). The survey highlights the rampant corruption in the country. The TIB released its report on the “National Household Survey 2007 on Corruption in Bangladesh” at the National Press Club in Dhaka on Wednesday.

Quoting the TIB the New Age, a national English daily reports, “Petty corruption has increased in some service sectors across the country after the takeover by the army-controlled interim government on January 11, 2007, indicating the pervasiveness of corruption like that of earlier years. The survey, covering 5,000.00 households between July 2006 and June 2007, found that almost 97 per cent of the people had been victims of corruption and 65 per cent had to pay bribes while dealing with law-enforcing agencies.”

The survey conducted only on the public service sectors taking 3,000 rural and 2,000 urban households as samples, did not find any difference in the extent of corruption in the rural and urban setups. The report reveals, “. . . while taking services from the law-enforcers, the households had to pay bribe, on an average, of Taka 10,927.00 (USD 160.00) for avoiding arrest, about Taka 4,000.00 (USD 58.39) for filing First Information Report, Taka 2,605.00 (USD 38.02)for investigation, Taka 1,703.00 (USD 24.86) for accelerating charge sheet and Taka 795.00 (USD 11.60) for General Diary. The volume of nationwide corruption in monetary terms was estimated at Taka 54 billion and 430 million (USD 794,598,540.05), in which the highest share belongs to the land administration with Taka 16 billion and 60 million (USD 234,452,554.74), followed by the law-enforcing agencies with Taka 8 billion and 790 million (USD 128,321,167.88) and the judiciary with Taka 6 billion and 710 million (USD 97,956,204.37)  . . . The average amount of bribes charged by the judiciary is Taka 5,124 in the magistrate’s courts, Taka 5,516 in the judges’ courts, Taka 2,167 in the High Court and Taka 5,840 in special courts . . .”

The survey report of the TIB indicates that the Rule of Law institutions of Bangladesh are plunged into rampant corruption. This report also proves that the so called fight against corruption declared by the military-controlled government during the State of Emergency in the country is merely a propaganda rather than a reality of eradicating corruption.

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has documented a large number of individual cases where the police were reported to be compelling the people to pay bribes, and the denial of payment resulted in arrest, detention and fabrication of charges against innocent people. The judges, prosecutors and lawyers have also been found corrupt.

The AHRC urges the authorities and professionals, including the human rights defenders and the civil society of Bangladesh, to unveil the reasons of corruption in the Rule of Law institutions, aiming at a thorough reform of the current dysfunctional system of the country.

About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

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