Govt loses Tk 3418cr in 3 decades
Sunday, 30 March 2008

Government lost Tk 3417.60 crore in last three decades as land revenue due to alleged widespread corruption and irregularities at the 64 ADC (Revenue) offices across the country, reports UNB.

The startling figure was revealed in a book titled `Bangladesh Dark Facets of Land Rights & Management with Directions to Agrarian Reform'' written by Prosanta K Roy, a deputy secretary to the Government.

"If we take the last three decades to estimate the loss of state revenue due to irregularities and fraud of all ADC (Rev.) offices of the country it would reach approximately Tk 3417.60 crore (Tk 113.92 crore per year) in 64 ADC (Rev.) offices," Roy said.

He added: If all other sources of state revenue collection like custom duties, income taxes and land registration fees should be ensured, no doubt the annual development budget of the country can be done by state revenue collection.

From the beginning of land administration, in early days, which was purely a tax collection institution, it became a corrupt sector for lack of proper management procedure and accountability of its officials.

Misappropriation of public money through many ways and means like fraud or false documentation and presentation was very common and till now it is practiced in land management sector.

A Special Audit Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (1999) on land revenue collection system found that serious misappropriations and irregularities involved more than Tk 14 crore (Tk 142.8 million) in eight ADC (Rev.) offices and one union land office in the year 1995-96.

Roy''s book shows that all the respondents he talked with have experienced corruption of different types in land sector during mutation at union and upazila levels.

Some 80 percent of the total 30 respondents opined that land officials like Tahsilders (TDR) had been engaged in bribing. All the respondents spoke of non-cooperation by AC (Land) officials and TDR officials during mutation.

A household survey (2005) in Bangladesh, conducted by Transparency International, shows that out of the 3000 households, 97 percent had to pay bribes for land registration, 85 percent had to pay bribes for land mutation, 85 percent paid bribes for collecting land related documents, and 83 percent paid bribes for land survey.

Prof Muzaffer Ahmad in a write up titled `Bangladesh: Corruption as People See It'' quoted a female participant of a discussion as saying that it is difficult even to register a gift deed where no transaction of money takes place.

The household survey of TI gave some guidelines to combat corruption in land sector. These include better political will, setting up a special judicial branch, free flow of information, appointment of a sector-wise ombudsman, policy and institutional reforms, social movement against corruption, freely functioning media, and inclusion of corruption issue in the school curriculum.

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