75pc graft victims not willing to seek remedy: TIB

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:00, Sep 27,2019


TIB executive director Iftekharuzzaman addresses a seminar on the role of right to information in combating corruption at Midas Centre in Dhaka on Thursday. — New Age photo

Three-fourths of the victims of corruption in Bangladesh were unwilling to move the court to seek redress as they find it useless to fight corruption as it became an integral part of life, revealed study released on Thursday.

Only 10 per cent of the rest of the corruption victims seeking redress in litigation saw some results in pursuit of justice against corruption, said the study.

As many as 89 per cent of the people surveyed for the study said that no matter they wanted it or not they had to engage in acts of corruption at some point in their lifetime.

They held politicians to be mostly corrupt and the realisation led them to participate less in political movements rather rally behind social movements such as the one known as safe road movement, the study revealed.

‘Corruption is so common that even a birth certificate cannot be obtained without paying bribe,’ said BRAC University professor Afsan Chowdhury, who conducted the study titled ‘Corruption and right to information: Current and future scenario.’

‘And in exchange of bribe it is possible to get a new birth certificate for a dead person,’ said Afsan.

The study was released at a discussion organised by Transparency International Bangladesh at its office in Dhaka ahead of the International Right to Know Day, which falls on September 28.

As many as 67 per cent of the corruption victims said that they suffered financially or socially as they had to meet the illegal demand for money or were made to suffer by waiting long hours in case they did not want to pay it.

They also complained about corruption in private sector, especially by traders at kitchen markets who charge them whimsically for essentials.

Public office staff demanded illegal money or other favour from service seekers openly, said the study.

Forty per cent government officials made their demands in semi-open manner and 10 per cent of corrupt deals were done privately, the study said.

About 60 per cent of corruption victims believed that the all-pervasive form of corruption could not be stopped through punishment.

Only 25 per cent of the people surveyed knew that there was a right to information law to seek any information they wanted to know from public offices.

Only five per cent of the people aware of the law had clear idea about it, said the study.

‘The RTI law was meant to empower people by releasing every piece of information they want to know to hold the government accountable,’ said TIB executive director Iftekharuzzaman.

He said that the law was implemented very slowly since it was passed 10 years earlier.

‘Lack of awareness about the law is regrettable,’ said Badiul Alam Majumdar, country director, The Hunger Project.

‘Full implementation of the law depends on people’s awareness about it and its widespread use by them,’ he said.

DNet founder Ananya Raihan, TIB deputy executive director Sumaya Khair and representatives of different NGOs also participated in the discussion.  

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