Corruption in Bangladesh

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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.[1]

Transparency International's 2017 Corruption Perception Index ranks the country 143rd place out of 180 countries.[2] The public sectors conducted by the Government are the most corrupted sectors of the country.[3]

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.[4][5]

Causes of corruption[edit]

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.[6]

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.[6]

Corruption by sector[edit]

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.[3][7] Public sectors in Bangladesh include police departments, fire departments, water supply, electricity, gas supply, education, waste disposal, health, transportation, administration etc.[8][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.[6]

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.[6]


Tarique Rahman believed to be involved in digital money laundering with Bangladesh Bank

Bangladesh Awami League[edit]

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.[9][10]

In 2012 World Bank alleged that Syed Abul Hossain was one of the corruption conspirator in the Padma Bridge Scandal.[11] He resigned from his office on 23 July 2012.[12] Former state minister for foreign affairs and MP of Awami League Abul Hasan Chowdhury was also involved in that corruption plot. Another person involved in this case was Mujibur Rahman Chowdhury. He is the nephew of Sheikh Hasina, a member of parliament, and also a civil contractor. SNC-Lavalin admitted to bribing him in order to obtain contracts[13][14] Soon after the case emanated, Sheikh Hasina disavowed her nephew and campaigned for his opponent during the 2014 Bangladeshi general election.[15]

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.[16]

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.[17]

On 15 October 2015, Awami League MP Manjurul Islam Liton was arrested for shooting a 9-year-old boy named Shahadat Hossain Shoura.[18]

On 10 April 2016, Bangladesh Supreme Court Appellate Division upheld 13-year jail to former minister of Disaster Management and Relief Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya rejecting his review plea seeking acquittal in graft case.[19][20][21][22][23][24]

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.[25][26]

On 13 July 2017, Gazi Tarique Salman, a civil servant (UNO) was harassed by police, local administration,[27] and local Awami League leader Obaidullah Saju.[28]

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,[29] [30] Bangladesh's minister of finance Abul Mal Abdul Muhit sid that "Media exaggerated rise of Bangladeshi deposit in Swiss banks"[31] [32]

Bangladesh Nationalist Party[edit]

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.[33] He was also charged with involvement in 15 August 2004 Dhaka grenade attack and Zia Charitable Trust corruption case.[34] On 21 December 2014, an arrest warrant was issued against him.[35] His properties were confiscated by the directives of Bangladesh High Court.[36] Harris Chowdhury is a fugitive from 2007.[37]

On 22 July 2007, Wadud Bhuiyan received 20-years' of prison sentence for illegally amassing more than a million dollar of cash and property.[38]

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.[39] On 5 June 2016, High Court ordered freezing of Morshed Khan, his wife and son's Hong Kong bank accounts.[40]

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".[41]

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.[42][43][44]

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.[45] On 23 August 2015 Bangladesh Supreme Court scrapped his acquittal from High Court.[46]

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.[47]

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.[48]

Jatiya Party (Ershad)[edit]

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.[49][50][51]

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[52][53][54].

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.[55] Golam Faruk Ovi is a fugitive and believed to be hiding in Canada.[56]

Student politics[edit]

In public universities and colleges the student wings of ruling[57] political parties dominate the campuses and residential halls through crime and violence to gain various unauthorised facilities.[58] 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.[59] They extort and grab tenders[60] to earn illicit money. They take money from job seekers and put pressure on university administrations to appoint them.[61] In government colleges they take money from freshmen candidates and put pressure on teachers and officials to get acceptance for them.[62][63][64] Some of them often involves in robbery[65] and rape.[66]


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.[6]

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.[67][68]

Prime examples of government corruption are 2011 Bangladesh share market scam.[69][70][71][72][73]

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.[74][75]

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.[76]

Public services[edit]

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.[77][78] Engineer Delwoar Hossain of Gazipur City Corporation was killed on May 21, 2020. According to his relatives, one investigation agency, and Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) Delwoar was murdered for his stance against corruption.[79]

Land administration[edit]

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.[77]

Tax administration[edit]

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.[77]

Public procurement[edit]

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.[77]


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.[6] The payment of bribes in exchange for favourable verdicts is common. Prosecutors, who earn only $37.50 ??? a month, are especially susceptible to bribery.[77]

In 2010, Judiciary of Bangladesh was ranked as the most corrupt institution of the country.[80] 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.[81] Bangladesh's Judicial system is infested by partisanship,[82][83][84] governmental or political influence,[85] judicial corruption,[86] delays in verdicts,[87] and abuse of power.[88]


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.[89]

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.[90]

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.[91]


Bangladesh has a huge backlog of unresolved cases both civil and criminal.[92] Political clout is believed to be the main factor behind most of the unsolved murder cases.[93]

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.[94]

Politics of trial[edit]

In Bangladesh, generally government files politically motivated cases against oppositions, and these cases get withdrawn or quashed when they gets to the government again.[95]

Civil cases[edit]

Law enforcement[edit]

See also: Rapid Action Battalion

See also: Human rights in Bangladesh

Bangladesh Military[edit]

Although, Bangladesh Military is uniformed soldiers but Bangladesh military also involved large scale corruption in Bangladesh through Military's business empire. Bangladesh military officers are known to receiving illicit loans from the Trust Bank and VDP bank.[96] The Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) mutiny was partly fueled by resentment among the BDR troops over the corruption of army officers who lead them for many years were personally profiting from consumer goods sold by the organisation.[97]

In the year 2012, Defence Adviser Maj Gen (Retd) Tarique Ahmed Siddique was involved in bribery of BDT 7 million carried by a government vehicle. The vehicle with the money was confiscated by the Border Guard Bangladesh. Maj Gen (Retd) Tarique Ahmed Siddique called the then chief of army staff, General Md Abdul Mubeen to released the vehicle and the money. Intelligence sources reported that the Army chief was paid a large some of the money to release the vehicle.[98]

Bangladesh Police[edit]

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.[77]

In 2002, Transparency International Bangladesh revealed that Bangladesh Police is one of the most corrupt public institutions in Bangladesh.[99] In 2013, they again published the same assessment.[100] Asian Human Rights Commission revealed that people of Bangladesh pay more to police than to the government.[101] Police force benefits from political patronage and culture of impunity.[102] Police is involved in blackmailing,[103] extortion,[104] torture,[105] rape,[106] and killing.[107]

Rapid Action Battalion[edit]

Law enforcement agencies like Rapid Action Battalion are involved in extrajudicial killing,[108] murder, abduction,[109][110][111] and rampant human rights abuse.[112][113][114]

Energy and power[edit]


In 2015, it was revealed that some Bangladeshi accounts of HSBC were involved in money laundering activities.[115] HSBC was also involved in tax evasion activities.[116]

Health and hygiene[edit]

A 2012 Survey by Transparency International Bangladesh showed that 40.2% of the people fell victim to the irregularities and corruptions in public hospitals.[117] 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.[118] The survey also alleged that the recruitment, transfer and promotion process of personnel in this sector is also corrupted.[117] Although the allegations were rejected by the Government Health Ministry.[117] 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.[119] According to patients, even in emergency needs, they were unable to access services unless a bribe is paid first.[118]


Companies have been reported to be subjected to expensive and useless license and permit requirements.[1] 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.[6]

Politicians are involved in giving contracts to foreign companies by taking bribes or kickbacks in closed-door negotiations.[120][121] 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.[6]

Business owners do not obey proper safety codes of the buildings and workplaces. As a result, several large accidents occurred and killed hundreds.[122] 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.[6]

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.[6]

Transparency International attributes the ubiquity and high level of corruption in Bangladesh to the power of business interests over the political parties and parliament.[77]


Road safety[edit]

Traffic is heavy and chaotic in urban areas, specially in big cities.[123][124][125][126] Streets are extremely congested and the usual traffic and safety rules are not applied or obeyed.[127][128][129] Most drivers are untrained, unlicensed and uninsured.[130][131] Over the years, road accidents have risen to a disastrous level.[132][133] Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity, assessed that 8,589 people had died in road accidents across the country in 2014.[134] 5,000 people died in road accidents in 2015.[135] According to World Bank statistics, annual fatality rate from road accidents is found to be 85.6 fatalities per 10,000 vehicles.[136] Chaos in the street is usually caused by reckless driving and jaywalking which leads to fatal accidents.[137][138][139] Police, Ministers, Lawmakers, VIPs have the tendency to break traffic laws by driving on the reverse sides of the roads.[140][141][142]

Effect of corruption[edit]

Money in Swiss banks[edit]

According to the data published by Swiss National Bank (SNB) on 29 June 2017, BDT 4423,00,00,00,000 in Swiss banks[29] which has been increased by 20% since 2013-14 .[30]

Foreign investment[edit]

According to the US report on the Bangladesh's investment climate,[143]

"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[edit]

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.[144] The Anti-Corruption Commission of Bangladesh is crippled by the 2013 amendment[145] 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.[146]

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.[147] 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.[148]

Transparency International Bangladesh[edit]

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.[149] The reports and researches published by TIB regarding corruptions are routinely rejected and overlooked by the Government and other responsible wings.[150][151][152][153]

Corruption Index of Bangladesh[edit]

The following table is depicting the comparison of Corruption Perceptions Index of various countries in South Asia as rated by Transparency International.[154]

The Global Corruption Perception Index of 2016,[155] published on 25 January 2017 indicates that, even though Bangladesh gained one point in the ranking, it slept 6 positions to 145[156][157] as more countries had been able to reduce their corruption levels than that of Bangladesh. According to the report, India[158] and Sri Lanka[159] both plunged in the ranking. The biggest improver was Pakistan[160] as it gained two more points than that of 2015 and also progressed one step forward.[161]

Years Afghanistan Bangladesh Bhutan India Myanmar Nepal Pakistan Sri Lanka
1997 N/A 45(2.75) 58(2.53)
1998 N/A 66(2.9) 71(2.7)
1999 N/A 72 (2.9) 87(2.2)
2000 N/A 69(2.8) N/A
2001 101 (0.4) most corrupt 71(2.7) 79(2.3)
2002 157 (1.2) most corrupt 72(2.7) 77(2.6)
2003 161 (1.3) most corrupt 83(2.8) 92(2.5)
2004 165 (1.5) most corrupt 90(2.8) 129(2.1)
2005 167 (1.7) most corrupt 88(2.9) 144(2.1)
2006 170 (2.0) most corrupt 70(3.3) 142(2.2)
2007 162 (2.0) most corrupt 72(3.5) 138(2.4)
2008 139 (2.4) 84(3.4) 139(2.4)
2009 139 (2.4) 84(3.4) 139(2.4)
2010 134 (2.4) 87(3.3) 143(2.3)
2011 120 (2.7) 95(3.1) 134(2.5)
2012 125 (2.6) 94(3.6) 139(2.7)
2013 129 (2.7) 94(3.6) 127(2.8)
2014 138(2.5) 85(3.8) 126(2.9)
2015 166 (11) 2nd most corrupt 138 (25) 27(65) 76(38) 147(22) 130(27) 117 (30) 83(37)
2016 169 (15) 6th most corrupt 135 (26) 27(65) 79(40) 136(28) 131(29) 116 (32) 95(36)

See Also[edit]


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