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24 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Graft galore in Mongla, Burimari land ports: TIB

STAFF REPORTER

Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), a multinational anti-graft watchdog, said it has found huge corruption and extortion at Mongla port, Burimari land port, and their Customs Houses. The two port authorities and their Customs Houses are taking an extra amount of Tk 31 crore illegally for providing services to their clients every year. Almost all officials and employees of the port are involved in corruption,  according to a TIB study report. The report titled “Burimari Land Port & Customs Station and Mongla Port & Custom House: Governance Challenges in Import-Export and Way Out” was unveiled yesterday in the TIB office at Dhanmondi in Dhaka yesterday. The study found that employees of the Customs House at the Mongla port  was involved in corruption worth Tk. 15.69 crore during FY2016-17.

The TIB also found corruption worth Tk. 4.61 crore at the Mongla port during the same period, TIB executive director Dr Iftekharuzzaman revealed. The corruption at the Burimari land port and its Customs House was estimated to be Tk. 17.10 lakh during FY2017-18. According to the TIB study, the Transport Workers' Union extorts a total of Tk 5.41 crore annually as they take Tk. 900 as extortion money from each truck at the Burimari land port.

TIB’s research and policy wing’s deputy managers, Khorshed Alam and Mahmud Hasan Talukder, and programme manager Manjur E Khoda conducted the study. The trio briefed the media about the study report and its findings during the press conference. Dr Iftekharuzzaman, TIB management adviser

Dr Sumaiya Khair, research director Mohammad Rafiqul Hasan and other officials were also present.

Dr Iftekharuzzaman told reporters that their findings are accurate and that they have specific information about corruption, extortion and irregularities at the two ports and their Customs Houses.

A section of officials and employees, workers’ leaders and middlemen are involved in the corruption. These elements are being protected by those who are responsible for controlling the racket, he said. “It’s not that no one knows about the corruption. The authorities can stop it if they so desire.

But the higher authorities need strong will and determination to curb it. Corrupt persons must get the message that stringent action will be taken against corruption,” he added.

The TIB report says that Mongla port authorities and Customs House collected Tk. 227 crore and Tk. 3,099 crore respectively during FY2016-17. At the same time, Burimari land port authorities and Customs House got Tk. 27.50 crore and Tk. 45 crore respectively.

Burimari land port authorities and Customs House got more than Tk. 10.44 crore illegally in FY2016-17, while Mongla Port authorities and Customs House earned Tk. 20.30 crore through unfair means during the same period.

The employees of the Mongla Customs House were involved in corruption worth Tk. 15.69 crore during FY2016-17, while Mongla port authorities were involved in corruption worth Tk. 4.61 crore during the same  period.

Replying to a query, Iftekharuzzaman said almost all the service receivers have been giving hush money to get the necessary services as they know they would not get any otherwise. “It’s now called ‘speed money’,” he added.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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