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The problem of bribery needs a holistic solution

  • Published at 12:03 am May 19th, 2019
Bribe
Photo: ABAK HUSSAIN

Payments in the form of bribes most certainly violate the sacred ideals of due process and justice

All of us, at some point or other, require the services of the police -- whether it is to report a crime, file a general diary, or obtain a necessary document such as a police certificate.

These services are a citizen’s rights, and there should be a clear process as to how to go about getting them.

Unfortunately, the system in Bangladesh is compromised by a culture of bribery, whereby those who are able to give bribes are fast-tracked, while others get the short end of the stick. 

A Bangladeshi passport is a document that is an alienable right to every citizen of the country, and yet, the process of obtaining this document is anything but straightforward, and often fraught with corruption, as it requires police verification.

Indeed, many people report having to pay bribes at several stops of the verification process; one person reports being asked for Tk2,500, being told there would be dire consequences otherwise, while another reports getting off relatively easy by having to pay only Tk500 as what was referred to as a ‘fuel cost.’

Indeed, it is an open secret that payments can expedite an otherwise slow and cumbersome process, which is why so many do not mind paying bribes; but in the long term, a proper holistic solution is needed, one that does not include extortion, intimidation, or under-the-table payments.

If there are legitimate costs to processing the necessary documents, or if police personnel are underpaid, these matters need to be looked into by the government -- this means bringing all financial matters into a lawful framework, with full transparency for all parties.

Because as things stand, payments in the form of bribes most certainly violate the sacred ideals of due process and justice, and let police officials off the hook for abusing their positions.