Bangladesh apex court seeks details of graft survey

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

DHAKA - Bangladesh’s Supreme Court Tuesday asked the national chapter of Transparency International to submit documents to support its recent survey report that said the people in the country are victims of corruption in the judiciary.

Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has been in news for its report released earlier this month, with ministers criticising its findings and ruling Awami League activists charging that the report has “defamed” the country.

Badrul Alam Bhuiyan, a deputy registrar at the apex court, sent a letter to the TIB office here asking for the documents and related information about the people in judiciary who have been found involved in corruption, Star Online reported.

The letter also asked for submitting the full survey report which was revealed at a programme in the capital Dec 23.

However, no deadline has been mentioned for submitting the documents.

Talking to The Daily Star, a Supreme Court high official said on condition of anonymity that the court would take action if the TIB provide the names of the corrupt people.

TIB in its latest survey found that over 84 percent households in Bangladesh became victims of corruption while receiving services from government and non-government institutions between June 2009 and May this year.

Most people became victims of corruption in the judiciary, according to the survey report. About 11 percent of the surveyed households that received services from the judiciary paid an average 7,900 Takas (about $120) bribe each.

According to the survey, the bribe was more in the case of higher judiciary. Usually lawyers, court employees, court clerks and brokers take the money to hasten or postpone hearings, for withdrawing and destroying case documents and influencing the judgment, the survey said.

Ruling party leaders have termed the TIB report “baseless”.

TIB trustee Muzaffer Ahmad told New Age that the government was paranoid and harassing people.

“The TIB uses the same methodology that the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics uses and the report, therefore, should not be questioned,” he added.

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