The research found that people have to pay bribes ranging from Tk500 to Tk5 lakh at each step to get land related services
No service is possible without bribes in the district registrar and sub-registrar offices and people have become hostages in the hands of these corrupted officials at every step to get land related services, finds Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB).
A report titled 'Ways to overcome obstacles for good governance in registration and services sector of land documents' by TIB unveils the findings at a press conference yesterday.
The research found that people have to pay bribes ranging from Tk500 to Tk5 lakh at each step to get land related services.
For example, to have a deed registered it costs Tk1000 to Tk5 lakh; Tk1000 to Tk7000 to extract a duplicate copy of the deed, while Tk500 to Tk5000 is extorted in the name of the Deed Writers Association. The rate of bribe depends on land price, type of duplicate copies, and the rate of extortion increases by leaps and bounds if the person cannot provide the documents required for registration by the service seekers.
Considering the types of a land deed registration, service seekers have to pay Tk1000 to 3000 for a piece of land that costs Taka one lakh.
The research found that, 10 to 50 per cent of the extracted illegal money goes to Sub-Registrars' pocket and rest go to other officials according to their posts.
The TIB also alleged that share of the bribe goes to the pockets of the officials from the grassroot level to the office of the directorate of Registration.
Land registration and corruption have become synonyms
At the press conference TIB Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman said that land registration and corruption have become synonyms in Bangladesh. The sector is one of the most corrupted in the country.
"There have been a huge lack of good governance and the sector is submerging with corruption. With few of exceptions, all the work is done on the basis of bribes, making people hostage. Here corruption has become institutionalized and the existing structure for accountability is not effective," he added.
The research also found the bribe transaction inside the land registration sector, starts from Tk20,000 to Tk20 lakh the range needed for recruitment, promotion and other processes, the report says.
A copy writer (nokolnobish) has to pay Tk20000-3 lakh, to get appointed. From copy writer to mohrar Tk2-8 lakh has to be given, and from mohrar to become assistant to the person will have to pay between Tk3 and 10 lakh.
To get license of a deed writer (dolil lekhok) the person needs to pay bribes between Tk1 and 3 lakh, Tk3 to 20 lakh to get the name listed in the Deeds Writers Association. For sub-registrar’s transfer Tk3 to Tk20 lakh has to be given and in one of the cases a sub register had to pay Tk50 lakh just to get a transfer near Dhaka
But many officials told the researchers that the situation is becoming better than before as recent recruitments by the public service commission (PSC) had made sure that the bribery activity in land sector decreases significantly.
Officials in many cases do not write the exact price of the land depriving the government of its legitimate revenue.
The research also says that the land registration fees are much higher than the others countries of the sub continent; 7.2% in India, 5.1% in Sri Lanka and 10.2% in Bangladesh. For this reason, people tend to pay less money during registration for the land.
The sector is also facing pressure from political and power holding groups, the report says.
The report suggested 15 recommendations to the government including updating related laws, digitalization of the total system, ensuring the transparency and accountability to give proper service to citizens and a corruptionless land sector in the country.
Advocate Sultana Kamal, chairperson of the trustee board of TIB was also present at the program among others.