A report made by Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) made it known to the public that people applying for land deeds in the country of Bangladesh are expected by concerned government agencies to pay bribes for their requests to be approved or even just processed.
The Dhaka Tribune released another report on the issue, supporting the information published by TIB by stating that individuals applying for land deeds have been proven to shell out any amount of money from 500 taka ($5.09 USD) up to 500,000 taka ($5,000 USD) just to have processes such as deed registrations, and even the production of duplicate deeds, performed. Along with this fee paid to the government agency handling the transactions, individuals are also subject to a mandatory fee to the Deed Writers’ Association.
Corruption plagues the entire process of land acquisition in Bangladesh. No matter the size of land, everyone is subject to these compulsory fees and payments; payments for a slice of land amounting to nothing more than 1 taka will go as high as 3,000 taka.
However, the bribes and under-the-table transactions do not stop there. Citizens and landowners are not the only parties plagued by the steep fees of bribery; job applicants who wish to hold a position in the land administration office, and even workers and employees who desire promotions and higher positions, are required to pay a substantial amount of money to achieve their goals.
Different positions in the office call for different amounts of money. To put things in perspective, here is an example: a prospective employee who wants to apply for the position of a copywriter might be asked to shell out up to $3,500 USD. Another good example is someone who wants to obtain a license so that he can be a writer of deeds — this particular endeavor will cost him $23,000 USD upwards.
Where does the money go? In a report detailing the corruption that plagues Bangladesh’ land registration system, The Daily Star stated that about half of all bribes go straight to local sub-registrars’ pockets while the rest of it is distributed among their colleagues and other employees in different offices and in the Directorate of Registration of the National Government.
Iftekhar Zaman, TIB’s executive director, spoke at a press conference about the pressing issue. He expressed his concern about the institutionalized corruption in the particular government sector and the lack of working structures present to identify and assign accountability on the people responsible for the corruption.
He stated that he believes that forcing these people to be accountable for their actions will eventually result in a government and due process that is free from corruption. He also emphasized the importance of increased government supervision and improvement of the digitizing system used for transactions.
He stated that the distribution of fair punishment among those held accountable will not only remove corruption from the government and make the processes concerning land registration more efficient, but it will also ultimately increase the sector’s acquired revenue.