Filed under - Civil society
Speech by Huguette Labelle, 15 February 2012 – Hotel Meliá, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Ladies and gentlemen
It is a great pleasure for me to be here at this important meeting organised by Participation Ciudadana, particularly because the subject we are addressing at this conference has shown itself to be of the utmost importance in the last few months, and that is also very relevant to this country: the role of civil society in fighting corruption.
The events of 2011 have provided yet another reminder of the destructive effects of corruption, both politically and economically.
- In India, massive demonstrations convinced the government to put forward strong anti-corruption legislation, several months later it is still in front of Parliament awaiting final debates.
- Last spring the popular pressure in the Arab Spring did not ease until leaders who have been in power for a combined 150 years stepped down. However, we still do not know the final outcome of the Arab Spring. As the anniversary of the fall of Hosni Mubarak drew near in Egypt, for example, it was worrying to see the offices of dozens of NGOs raided.
- Before the Arab Spring, the denial of space to civil society was one of the big reasons that nepotism and patronage were allowed to grow to such outrageous proportions. Those institutional problems will not fade away on their own.
- The financial crisis also had devastating effects over the last two years. It was a glaring lack of regulations for new financial products that created the crisis and now an estimated 80 million new jobs must be created over the next two years to just return to pre-financial crisis employment rates.
What we saw in Tunis and Cairo were extremes. But this demonstrated the very real threat faced by governments who do not stop corruption. When people are denied their basic rights, where petty bribery is allowed to flourish and where those in power act with impunity, citizens will protest.
The challenge for governments is to meet this demand and regain trust in their management of the public good. And transparency is essential to maintaining public trust in the government and public service.
The real challenges in the struggle against corruption reach into all sectors of society and include efforts to restrict illegal money flows, state capture, the ever-larger funding sources feeding corruption and the need to dampen ingrained fears of corrupt officials.
The World Economic Forum's global risk report from January 2010 said illicit trade represents between seven and 10 percent of the global economy. It cited corruption as one of the major risks to stability and economic recovery.
- Much is being done to hide illegal profits. Some tax havens, for example, have more registered companies and trusts per capita than industrial states: 40 companies are registered in the Virgin Islands for every citizen that lives there.
- The Cayman Islands has a population of 50,000, yet 70 per cent of the world’s hedge funds are registered there. Banks resident there held more than $1.7 trillion in assets at the end of 2008.
Another top challenge is state capture. We can no longer ignore the connection between financial opacity and the world’s most dangerous and destructive criminals.
- In the past years press reports revealed how drug gangs launder billions of dollars and kill anyone in their way from judges to attorneys. When criminal gangs take on so much power and wealth, and hold so much sway over state institutions, we can start to talk about state capture.
- In capitals around the world many lobbyists actively work to prevent the passage of new laws and regulations, and their enforcement. As an example, the revolving door spins furiously in places like Washington and Brussels as former politicians and regulators join banks and then lobby their old colleagues to ease the rules governing the financial industry.
- It is clear that more often than not, contributions to candidates and to political parties are used to purchase future support for the contributors’ company and interests.
- In some Latin American and other cities and states around the world, drug cartels have a growing influence over local governments and rule by fear, and by buying the support of the judiciary, and government, at all levels.
- With this in mind it is unsettling to note that the Inter-American Development Bank estimates the cost of violence generated by organised crime at US$168 billion in Latin America as a whole.
Unfortunately, the extent of resources available to sustain corruption are endless as illicit profits feed further graft.
- This makes corrupt networks more resilient and sophisticated, challenging corruption fighters to redouble the hunt for resources, to be equally sophisticated and to make greater use of technology and other tools to battle graft.
- The globalization of crime, the enormity of transnational illicit flows – estimated at $1.3 trillion by the organisation Global Financial Integrity – makes it impossible for governments to tackle the problem on their own.
And then there is the ‘fear factor’. When those in power such as the police and judges, or those who hold the keys to accessing essential services such as health, education, licenses, water and electricity expect a bribe in return for providing services or for looking the other way, those who can afford it pay, others go without the service.
- One quarter of Latin Americans report having paid a bribe to the judicial system in the space of twelve months, in India it is one in two.
Transparency International, TI has numerous strategies to keep corruption on the local, national and international agendas.
- You probably know TI for our Corruption Perceptions Index. This has been an important tool for raising awareness about the widespread and damaging nature of corruption.
- The 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index ranks 183 countries, 32 of which are in the Americas. More than two-thirds of them don’t even make it to the middle of the global ranking – indicating that corruption is a serious problem in those countries.
- The 2011 scores refute arguments that blame corruption in certain regions on culture. Among the countries in the Americas that score above five we find countries not only from North America, but also from Latin America and the Caribbean.
- The Corruption Perceptions Index is complimented by TI’s Global Corruption Barometer, a tool that in 2010 captured the experiences and views of more than 91,500 people in 86 countries and territories, making it the only world-wide public opinion survey on corruption.
- It showed that six out of ten people around the world thought corruption had increased over the previous three years. It also revealed that one in four people report paying bribes in the last year.
- A number of TI Chapters have also created scorecards, scoring essential anticorruption performance indicators on a national level and local level . National Integrity System studies further analyse both the extent and causes of corruption in a given country as well as the effectiveness of national anti-corruption efforts.
These tools serve citizens who demand probity in government services and help identify those sectors most vulnerable to corruption.
Tools are also needed to combat corruption on the local level. Beyond being outlets to report corruption, our chapters assist people in gaining access to services and inform government entities of problems in the delivery of services.
- For example, TI has Advocacy and Legal Advice Centres in more than 45 countries, including Participacion Ciudadana, that typically operate toll-free hotlines, encouraging citizens to report corruption.
- They have received more than 100,000 complaints since 2003.
- From this effort we have learned that we need to travel out to rural isolated communities to encourage people to come forward.
- Similarly, in Peru, Guatemala and Bolivia, TI chapters have already worked with remote communities helping the poor to monitor Conditional Cash Transfer programmes. I believe
- More than reporting corruption, citizens and NGOs are increasingly undertaking activities that can prevent it. They are taking part in decision-making and monitoring projects. The work of Participacion Ciudadana in training people to monitor climate change programmes is another good step in this positive trend.
- TI also advocates voluntary agreements that allow our chapters to work with committed public officials who are keen to demonstrate their integrity and deliver on promises. The pacts are based on local priorities, be it service delivery, infrastructure or greater participation in local planning, and have been successful in defeating corruption from Bangladesh to Ghana.
Civil society can mobilise the greatest pressure for change by calling on governments to meet their international commitments under various treaties.
Bad governance distorts markets and destabilises societies, perpetuating poverty and social injustice. Governments, businesses and citizens across the globe have to join efforts to fight this common scourge by promoting more open governments.
To this end TI encourages the enforcement of international Conventions and rule-making on the home front to reign in opaque budget-making, establish greater transparency on government procurement and construction projects, and the creation of government anti-corruption watchdogs.
- The most far reaching tool for fighting global corruption is the United Nations Convention against Corruption.
- The adoption of the UN Convention, eight years ago, was widely hailed as a major breakthrough, establishing a comprehensive global framework for combating corruption. It provides a model for anti-corruption legislation and a framework for a level playing field.
- It obliges signatories to ensure there are anti-corruption bodies and justice system capable of preventing and prosecuting corruption in both public and private sectors.
- Of course, many of you will be quick to point out that almost a decade before the UN Convention entered into force, countries across the Americas joined forces to establish the Inter-American Convention against Corruption.
- Our goal is to learn from the successes and challenges remaining of the Inter-American Convention at an international level. TI’s National Chapters in the Americas have undertaken a valuable sustained effort to produce independent evaluation reports.
- TI also reports on implementation of the OECD convention against bribery of public officials and has sought to encourage member states to do more to incentivise good corporate behaviour. At the same time, we have sought to
Outside of international conventions, governments have plenty of options for cleaning up corrupt practices in everything from budgeting to public procurement.
- In Venezuela our chapter found a 125 per cent difference between oil revenues from the OPEC member as given in the 2012 budget bill and figures it calculated based on information presented by the President, begging the question of where the extra money will go and showing why budget transparency is so important.
- TI also sees public procurement as one of the areas of government most prone to corruption. It is a worldwide market worth US$ 2 trillion annually, according to the OECD.
- One solution to get all players involved in a public contract to sign up to a legally binding no-bribe agreement called an Integrity Pact.
- Strong overseers can further strengthen the hand of government. Institutional ombudsmen, supreme audits and anti-corruption commissions that are independent, professional and properly resourced make up the basic elements of a strong system to defeat graft.
- With elections occurring nearly daily around the globe one cannot forget the importance of government rule-making that separates the influence of money from political campaigns, the importance of strong and independent Electoral Commissions and full transparency in contributions paid to candidates and to political parties.
- Eight out of 10 people surveyed for Transparency International’s 2010 Global Corruption Barometer judged political parties as corrupt or extremely corrupt.
Clean government goes hand-in-hand with clean business. We encourage companies to adopt and report on anti-corruption programmes in their company, their subsidiaries and throughout supply chains, but we also want to see more transparency about the operations of those supply chains.
- TI rates companies for their disclosure of anti-corruption plans and their operations in third countries.
- For the review of oil and gas company transparency we released in 2011, we recommended that companies publish what they pay to each government where they operate. We also recommended that they publish where their subsidiaries are registered and who their equity holders are.
Only by putting resources behind investigators and giving political backing to the prosecutors will we create a genuine disincentive to bad corporate behaviour, and truly ensure that no one is above the law.
While companies may be important to fighting bribery today, it’s our youth that will stanch the flow of graft tomorrow. Nearly half of the world's population (almost 3 billion people) is under the age of 25, according to the World Population Foundation. The importance of engaging youth in anti-corruption cannot be overestimated. It can help change attitudes and mores and build zero-tolerance for corruption where the problem is seen as an acceptable fact of life.
- With this in mind, education and bringing youth into the anticorruption movement is a top priority.
- In recent years we have organized a summer school on integrity, organized Transparency and Accountability Weeks in high schools and continue to use social media to reach a younger audience.
In many countries, people no longer trust their leaders’ management of the public good. One potential positive result is that people will take a greater role in monitoring the management of that public good from now on.
With this growing sense of public responsibility, there is a massive constituency for organisations like yours who help people make their voice heard. Together, civil society and those people have great potential to sweep out corruption and say “no” to impunity.
Country / Territory - Bangladesh | Belgium | Bolivia | British Virgin Islands | Cayman Islands | Dominican Republic | Egypt | Ghana | Guatemala | Peru | Tunisia | United States | United States Virgin Islands | Venezuela
Region - Global | Sub-Saharan Africa | Middle East and North Africa | Americas | Asia Pacific | Europe and Central Asia
Language(s) - English
Topic - Advocacy | Asset recovery | Civil society | Conventions | Organised crime | Politics and government | Poverty and development | Private sector | Public procurement | Transparency International
Tags - Huguette Labelle | UNCAC | National Integrity Study | Illicit assets | Arab Spring | Illicit cross-border flows | Integrity Pacts | State capture | Participación Ciudadana | Civil society
Corruption in Bangladesh has been a continuing problem. According to all major ranking institutions, Bangladesh routinely finds itself among the most corrupt countries in the world.
Transparency International's 2017 Corruption Perception Index ranks the country 143rd place out of 180 countries. The public sectors conducted by the Government are the most corrupted sectors of the country.
Anti Corruption Commission is formed in 2004, but is considered to be largely ineffective in investigating and preventing corruption because of governmental control over it.
Causes of Corruption
After splitting from Pakistan in 1971, Bangladesh was ruled by a series of civilian and military governments. Riots surrounding the 2014 elections resulted in hundreds of deaths and Freedom House changed the country's "political rights" rating from 3 to 4 (with 1 being best, 7 worst). This was only one incident, however, in a modern history of highly fatal political violence.
The country's score for rule of law on the Worldwide Governance Indicators declined from 28.6 (on a scale of 0–100) in 2011 to 22.7 in 2013. Although Bangladesh has experienced notable social and economic progress since around the turn of the century, it remains one of the world's poorest nations, with 76.5% in 2010 living on less than US$2 a day.
Corruption by sector
Bribery, rent-seeking and inappropriate use of government funds, excessive lobbying, long time delays in service performance, pilferage, irresponsible conduct from the government officials, bureaucratic intemperance have made public sector departments the most corrupt sectors of Bangladesh. Public sectors in Bangladesh include police departments, fire departments, water supply, electricity, gas supply, education, waste disposal, health, transportation, administration etc.[unreliable source?]
A 2012 study found that 97% of MPs were involved in illegal activities, with 77% abusing their positions on local election boards, 75% abusing development projects for their own benefit, including accepting commissions in exchange for approving projects or programs, 53% being involved in outright criminal acts, 69% influencing procurement decisions, and 62% influential local elections.
Fully 45% of Bangladeshis view political parties as corrupt, while 41% regard the parliament as corrupt. Only the police and the judiciary are viewed as more corrupt. Many politicians are regarded as out-and-out criminals, while the parties also "are believed to harbour criminals and terrorists," according to TI Bangladesh. The parties routinely exchange party funds for favours or pay them out because of extortion. They also improperly use state funds to buy jobs, licenses, and contracts for party members and other purposes. Party finances are largely non-transparent; despite regulations requiring reporting to the election commission, reports are scanty or absent and non-compliance is rarely punished. Also, both the parliament and the political parties are under the influence of business, with 56% of MPs now being business people.
Bangladesh Awami League
On 9 April 2012 Railway Minister Suranjit Sengupta's assistant personal secretary, general manager of the eastern region, and commandant of security were driving to Suranjit's residence with 7.4 million Taka of bribe money, when the driver Azam Khan turned them in.
In 2012 World Bank alleged that Syed Abul Hossain was one of the corruption conspirator in the Padma Bridge Scandal. He resigned from his office on 23 July 2012. Former state minister for foreign affairs and MP of Awami League Abul Hasan Chowdhury was also involved in that corruption plot.
On 29 August 2012, Anti Corruption Commission of Bangladesh said that they have the information that Syed Modasser Ali, adviser to the prime minister Sheikh Hasina, allegedly influenced Sonali Bank authorities into granting scam loan to the controversial Hallmark Group.
On 24 April 2013, a commercial building named Rana Plaza in Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed due to structural failure. That building was owned by Sohel Rana, a Jubo League (youth wing of Bangladesh Awami League) leader.
On 27 April 2014, the incident named Narayanganj Seven murder occurred. The main plotter of that incident Nur Hossain was the vice-president of Siddhirganj Awami League.
On 15 October 2015, Awami League MP Manjurul Islam Liton was arrested for shooting a 9-year-old boy named Shahadat Hossain Shoura.
On 7 April 2016, Bangladesh Supreme Court upheld the 3-years' prison sentence in the graft case of two sons (Jalal Alamgir, Joy Alamgir) of former minister of home affairs Dr Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir.
On 10 April 2016, Bangladesh Supreme Court Appellate Division upheld 13-year jail to former minister of Disaster Management and ReliefMofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya rejecting his review plea seeking acquittal in graft case.
On November 2016, Awami League MP Abdur Rahman Bodi was sentenced to three years of prison and fined US$1 million for illegally amassing and hiding wealth of US$100 million.
On 13 July 2017, Gazi Tarique Salman, a civil servant (UNO) was harassed by police, local administration, and local Awami League leader Obaidullah Saju.
Even though Swiss National Bank (SNB)'s data published on 29 June 2017 shows that Bangladesh has BDT 4423,00,00,00,000 in Swiss banks which is an increase by 20% since 2013-14, Bangladesh's minister of finance Abul Mal Abdul Muhit sid that "Media exaggerated rise of Bangladeshi deposit in Swiss banks"
Bangladesh Nationalist Party
In 2007, Military backed caretaker government charged Harris Chowdhury, former Political Secretary of Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, of acquiring his wealth through corruption. Chowdhury was charged with involvement in the Murder of former finance minister, Shah AMS Kibria, in 2005. He was also charged with involvement in 15 August 2004 Dhaka grenade attack and Zia Charitable Trust corruption case. On 21 December 2014, an arrest warrant was issued against him. His properties were confiscated by the directives of Bangladesh High Court. Harris Chowdhury is a fugitive from 2007.
On 22 July 2007, Wadud Bhuiyan received 20-years' of prison sentence for illegally amassing more than a million dollar of cash and property.
On 16 October 2008, it has been reported that the Interpol found the trace of a deposit of BD Taka 141.5 million with a bank in Hong Kong of former foreign minister M Morshed Khan. Both he and his son Faisal Morshed Khan have been convicted in several cases relating to corruption, hiding wealth information, land grabbing and criminal activities after the caretaker government came to power in January 2007. Both of them are fugitive from 2007. On 5 June 2016, High Court ordered freezing of Morshed Khan, his wife and son's Hong Kong bank accounts.
On 3 November 2008, a leaked US Embassy cable said that the Embassy in Dhaka believed Tarique Rahman was "guilty of egregious political corruption that has had a serious adverse effect on US national interests".
In 24 June 2011, Niko Resources, a Calgary-based oil and gas company, has pleaded guilty to bribing Bangladeshi minister AKM Mosharraf Hossain with a luxury SUV and a trip to New York and Calgary, and will pay a $9.5-million fine.
The Anti-Corruption Commission filed the case with Gulshan Police Station on 16 August 2011 against Hafiz and his wife for laundering US$1.75 million to Singapore. On 23 August 2015 Bangladesh Supreme Court scrapped his acquittal from High Court.
On 4 July 2014, Bangladesh Supreme Court sentenced former minister of civil aviation Mir Mohammad Nasiruddin and his son Mir Helal Uddin to thirteen years' of prison in two separate corruption cases.
On 15 November 2014, Prof AKM Shafiul Islam Lilon of Department of Social Science of Rajshahi University was hacked to death by Jubo Dal (youth wing of Bangladesh Nationalist Party) leader Anwar Hossain Ujjal.
Jatiya Party (Ershad)
Known in Bangladesh as "Sugar Zafar", Kazi Zafar Ahmed, because of his alleged role in the hijacking of a multimillion-dollar aid shipment of sugar, he was sentenced to 15 years' jail in absentia on corruption charges by a Dhaka court in November 1999.
On 20 November 2000, Hussain Muhammad Ershad was convicted and sentenced for Janata Tower Case. As a result, he was declared ineligible to contest the general election of 2001. Ershad is also the main accused of the murder case of Major General Muhammad Abul Manzoor.
On 10 November 2002, the deadbody of a prominent model named Syeda Tania Mahbub Tinni was found under the Buriganga Bridge which was later found to be perpetrated by former student cadre and MP of Jatiyo Party, Golam Faruk Ovi. Golam Faruk Ovi is a fugitive and believed to be hiding in Canada.
Main article: Student Politics of Bangladesh
In public universities and colleges the student wings of ruling political parties dominate the campuses and residential halls through crime and violence to gain various unauthorised facilities. They control the residential halls to manage seats in favour of their party members and loyal pupils. They eat and buy for free from restaurants and shops inside their campus. They extort and grab tenders to earn illicit money. They take money from job seekers and put pressure on university administrations to appoint them. In government colleges they take money from freshmen candidates and put pressure on teachers and officials to get acceptance for them. Some of them often involves in robbery and rape.
Corruption abounds in Bangladeshi government offices. Many officials receive salaries without having any actual assigned work. Officials are recruited and promoted for reasons that are not objectively clear. Solicitation of bribes is common. In a 2013 survey, 76% of respondents said corruption was a problem in the public sector, and 39% said they had paid a bribe during the previous 12 months. Bribes were especially common when dealing with the police (72%), the judiciary (63%), land services (44%), and registry and permit services (33%). Bribes were paid to obtain a service (58%), to speed up service (33%), to express thanks (7%), or to obtain cheaper services (3%). These numbers, though unimpressive, mark a significant improvement over 2010.
In 2010, then president Zillur Rahman pardoned twenty convicted murderers of Shabbir Ahmed Gamma. In July 2011, he again pardoned Awami League leader and convicted murderer Biplob.
Prime examples of government corruption are 2011 Bangladesh share market scam.
Padma Bridge Scandal, occurred in 2011, was the largest political scandal in Bangladesh that involved the ruling Bangladesh Awami League's government who allegedly sought a large amount money from the Canadian construction company SNC-Lavalin in exchange for awarding them the construction contract.
On 10 December 2012, some hackers hacked and posted the seventeen hours' of Skype call of chief justice Nizamul Huq on YouTube where he suggested that he was under pressure from the government to reach a quick verdict in the ongoing 1971 war crime cases against the country's senior opposition leaders.
The public sectors are among the country's most corrupt. In few countries is bribery more common in connection with public utilities. Nearly six out of ten firms report that they have to offer bribes, "gifts," or facilitation payments in exchange for licenses or public utility concessions or to "get things done." Unclear, contradictory regulations abound, and are often exploited by officials seeking informal payments.
Corruption is widespread in the Bangladeshi land administration. Most companies expect to make informal payments in exchange for construction permits. In a country where land is scarce, title disputes are common, and title registration takes much longer than is the average in South Asia. The collapse of an eight-story factory in April 2013 was the result of substantial building code violations, and highlighted the role of corruption in the issuance of permits and licenses and in safety inspections.
The Bangladeshi tax system is highly corrupt. In no country is it more common to be charged irregular payments in connection with taxation. More than forty percent of firms surveyed expected to present tax officials with gifts. Because the National Board of Revenue is poorly administered, tax collectors are able to collude with taxpayers, accepting personal payments in exchange for lower tax rates.
The awarding of government contracts in Bangladesh very frequently involves nepotism, fraud, bribery, and favouritism. Nearly half of companies surveyed expect to make irregular payments to secure government contracts. The Public Procurement Act, Public Procurement Rules, and other legislation are intended to guarantee above-board conduct in this sector, but they are at best poorly enforced.
The Bangladeshi judicial system is inefficient and under the influence of the executive branch. Political appointments, promotions, and firings are routine, and it can be difficult to enforce contracts and resolve disputes. The payment of bribes in exchange for favourable verdicts is common. Prosecutors, who earn only $37.50 a month, are especially susceptible to bribery.
In 2010, Judiciary of Bangladesh was ranked as the most corrupt institution of the country. The most prominent aspect of the judiciary of Bangladesh is, it is not an independent institution of the state in that both judiciary and the executive branch of the government are overlapped. Bangladesh's Judicial system is infested by partisanship, governmental or political influence, judicial corruption, delays in verdicts, and abuse of power.
On 3 March 2007, University of Chittagong revoked the LLB certificate of the judge Faisal Mahmud Faizee and seventy others for tempering with their mark-sheets, asking them to immediately return their certificates.
On 26 July 2014, it has been reported that three senior judges, AKM Ishtiaque Hussain, Md Mizanur Rahman, Salauddin Mohammad Akram, would lose their jobs because of various types of corruptions.
On 14 August 2016, Bangladesh Ministry of Law said that they have started the process of dismissing four judges, SM Aminul Islam, Ruhul Amin Khandaker, Sirajul Islam and Moinul Haque, for grave corruptions.
Main article: List of unresolved murder cases in Bangladesh
Main article: List of journalists killed in Bangladesh
Main article: Attacks by Islamic extremists in Bangladesh
Bangladesh has a huge backlog of unresolved cases both civil and criminal. Political clout is believed to be the main factor behind most of the unsolved murder cases.
According to Global Impunity Index of CJP published on 27 October 2016, Bangladesh occupies 11th position in the list where journalists are slain and killers go free.
Politics of trial
In Bangladesh, generally government files politically motivated cases against oppositions, and these cases get withdrawn or quashed when they gets to the government again.
Main article: Forced disappearance in Bangladesh
See also: Rapid Action Battalion
See also: Human rights in Bangladesh
Low salaries and poor training make the police susceptible to bribery as well. The force is characterised by political patronage and a culture of impunity. International businesses have said that the Bangladeshi police force is one of the world's least reliable.
In 2002, Transparency International Bangladesh revealed that Bangladesh Police is one of the most corrupt public institutions in Bangladesh. In 2013, they again published the same assessment. Asian Human Rights Commission revealed that people of Bangladesh pay more to police than to the government. Police force benefits from political patronage and culture of impunity. Police is involved in blackmailing, extortion, torture, rape, and killing.
Rapid Action Battalion
Law enforcement agencies like Rapid Action Battalion are involved in extrajudicial killing, murder, abduction, and rampant human rights abuse.
Energy and power
In 2015, it was revealed that some Bangladeshi accounts of HSBC were involved in money laundering activities.HSBC was also involved in tax evasion activities.
Health and hygiene
A 2012 Survey by Transparency International Bangladesh showed that 40.2% of the people fell victim to the irregularities and corruptions in public hospitals. Doctors, nurses and other professionals working in government-run public hospitals have long been accused of demanding bribes for services which are supposed to be provided free of cost. The survey also alleged that the recruitment, transfer and promotion process of personnel in this sector is also corrupted. Although the allegations were rejected by the Government Health Ministry. The survey reported that there is lack of regulation from the government in the private health care sector. The medical practitioners in these sector earn money by driving up health care costs and commission agreements with diagnostic centres. According to patients, even in emergency needs, they were unable to access services unless a bribe is paid first.
Companies have been reported to be subjected to expensive and useless license and permit requirements. In 2014–2015, business executives said corruption was the second largest obstacle to doing business in Bangladesh. Business people are often expected to bribe public officials, often in connection with annual taxes. Fully 48% of companies have been asked to pay bribes, and most firms seeking licenses are asked for bribes, with 55% of construction permits, 77% of import licenses, 56% of water connection arrangements and 48% of electricity connection arrangements involving bribes.
Politicians are involved in giving contracts to foreign companies by taking bribes or kickbacks in closed-door negotiations. Major public contracts are often said to involve corruption. Fully 49% of companies said they had to present "gifts" to win state contracts, with those "gifts" averaging a value of 3% of the contract value.
Business owners do not obey proper safety codes of the buildings and workplaces. As a result, several large accidents occurred and killed hundreds. The garment industry is also rife with corruption, with leaders in the industry obtaining tax concessions, gaining special access to infrastructure, and ignoring with impunity official safety and security regulations. Because of this brand of corruption, the Rana Plaza factory complex collapsed, killing over 1200. Owing to corruption, the builders had been able to ignore many construction regulations.
Various international sources provided $2.9 billion to build the Padma Multilateral Purpose Bridge near Dhaka in 2011. After the World Bank learned in 2012 of "a high-level corruption conspiracy among politicians, businessmen, and private individuals" in connection with the bridge, support for the project was withdrawn by several of the sources.
Transparency International attributes the ubiquity and high level of corruption in Bangladesh to the power of business interests over the political parties and parliament.
Traffic is heavy and chaotic in urban areas, specially in big cities. Streets are extremely congested and the usual traffic and safety rules are not applied or obeyed. Most drivers are untrained, unlicensed and uninsured. Over the years, road accidents have risen to a disastrous level. Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity, assessed that 8,589 people had died in road accidents across the country in 2014. 5,000 people died in road accidents in 2015. According to World Bank statistics, annual fatality rate from road accidents is found to be 85.6 fatalities per 10,000 vehicles. Chaos in the street is usually caused by reckless driving and jaywalking which leads to fatal accidents. Police, Ministers, Lawmakers, VIPs have the tendency to break traffic laws by driving on the reverse sides of the roads.
Effect of corruption
Money in Swiss banks
According to the data published by Swiss National Bank (SNB) on 29 June 2017, BDT 4423,00,00,00,000 in Swiss banks which has been increased by 20% since 2013-14 .
According to the US report on the Bangladesh's investment climate,
"Corruption is common in public procurement, tax and customs collection, and regulatory authorities. Corruption, including bribery, raises the costs and risks of doing business."
Anti Corruption Commission
Main article: Anti Corruption Commission Bangladesh
Anti Corruption Commission Bangladesh (ACC) was formed through an act promulgated on 23 February 2004 that came into force on 9 May 2004. The commission is often criticised for being ineffective and a wastage of resources due to the influence of the government over it. The Anti-Corruption Commission of Bangladesh is crippled by the 2013 amendment of the Anti Corruption Commission Act introduced by the ruling Awami League government, which makes it necessary for the commission to obtain permissions from the government to investigate or file any charge against government bureaucrats or politicians.
In 2015, the ACC investigated the case of Padma Bridge Scandal. Even though the World Bank continuously pressed the government to take actions against the perpetrators, after 53 days' of investigation, ACC found nobody to be guilty. On the basis of ACC's report, Dhaka district judge court acquitted all the seven government officials who were believed to be involved in the corruption plot. Before that, ACC even exonerated Syed Abul Hossain and ex-state minister for foreign affairs Abul Hasan Chowdhury from the allegation of involvement in the corruption conspiracy.
Transparency International Bangladesh
Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) is an independent, non-government, non-partisan and non-profit organisation which is a fully accredited national chapter of Berlin-based Transparency International in Bangladesh. TIB undertakes research and surveys to investigate the magnitude and impact of corruption and suggest necessary moves for establishing a transparent system of governance, politics and business. The reports and researches published by TIB regarding corruptions are routinely rejected and overlooked by the Government and other responsible wings.
Corruption Index of Bangladesh
The following table is depicting the comparison of Corruption Perceptions Index of various countries in South Asia as rated by Transparency International.
The Global Corruption Perception Index of 2016, published on 25 January 2017 indicates that, even though Bangladesh gained one point in the ranking, it slept 6 positions to 145 as more countries had been able to reduce their corruption levels than that of Bangladesh. According to the report, India and Sri Lanka both plunged in the ranking. The biggest improver was Pakistan as it gained two more points than that of 2015 and also progressed one step forward.
|2001||91 (0.4) most corrupt||71(2.7)||79(2.3)|
|2002||102 (1.2) most corrupt||72(2.7)||77(2.6)|
|2003||133 (1.3) most corrupt||83(2.8)||92(2.5)|
|2004||145 (1.5) most corrupt||90(2.8)||129(2.1)|
|2005||158 (1.7) most corrupt||88(2.9)||144(2.1)|
|2006||156 (2.0) 8th most corrupt||70(3.3)||142(2.2)|
|2007||162 (2.0) 7th most corrupt||72(3.5)||138(2.4)|
|2014||145(2.5) 14th most corrupt||85(3.8)||126(2.9)|
|2015||166 (11) 2nd most corrupt||138 (25) 13th most corrupt||27(65)||76(38)||147(22)||130(27)||117 (30)||83(37)|
|2016||169 (15) 6th most corrupt||145 (26) 15th most corrupt||27(65)||79(40)||136(28)||131(29)||116 (32)||95(36)|
Visa Restriction Index of Bangladesh
According to the Arton Capital's Passport Index, Bangladeshi passport is ranked 6th worst in the world in terms of visa free travel. Bangladeshi passport's visa free travel score is 35 as compared to Afghanistan 23, Bhutan 48, India 45, Nepal 37, Pakistan 26, Sri Lanka 35.
According to Henley & Partner's Visa Restriction Index, Bangladeshi passport is ranked 163rd of 176 countries in the world.