B`desh apex court asks TI to submit its graft survey documents

Bdesh`s Supreme Court has asked Berlin-based Transparency International to submit documents of a study carried out by the graft watchdog that found judiciary to be the "most corrupt" institution of the South Asian country.

Dhaka: Bangladesh`s Supreme Court has
asked Berlin-based Transparency International to submit
documents of a study carried out by the graft watchdog that
found judiciary to be the "most corrupt" institution of the
South Asian country.

"We received a letter from the Supreme Court seeking
the relevant documents of our household survey," Executive
Director of the Bangladesh chapter of the watchdog
Iftekharuzzaman said on Wednesday.

He said according to the notice the apex court would
take effective steps after receiving the documents of the
survey conducted by the Transparency International Bangladesh
(TIB) but it mentioned no deadline for submitting the
documents.

Asked if the TIB would submit the documents as sought
by the apex court, Iftekharuzzaman evaded a direct answer
saying it was not the duty of the watchdog to investigate any
individual`s corruption.

"Besides, the respondents (of the survey) were
unwilling disclose names while saying that they had to pay
bribe to court employees, clerks, lawyers or brokers," he
said.

Supreme Court officials said the notice was issued
after Chief Justice ABM Khairul Haque yesterday convened an
emergency meeting of the senior judges of the apex court at
his residence and decided to review the TIB`s documents.

According to the survey, the judiciary was the most
corrupt among the service sectors followed by law enforcement
agencies and the land administration as the watchdog came up
with its findings on the basis of a household survey it
conducted between June 2009 and May 2010.

The TIB report also said that corruption in the
country`s judiciary system had increased by 40.3 per cent over
the last three years. A survey in 2007 had found 47.7 per cent
corruption in the judiciary.

Two courts in southeastern port city of Chittagong
earlier this week ordered personal appearance of three top TIB
executives as two lawyers filed defamation suits alleging the
report to have "maligned" the judiciary.

Judicial Service Association, a forum of lower court
judges, two days ago in a statement said the TIB was led by an
"ill motive" in calling judiciary the most corruption-prone
institution.

The association also alleged that the respondents of
the survey accused lawyers, non-judge court employees and
middlemen or court lobbyists of corrupt practices while none
of them were part of judiciary according to the Bangladesh
Constitution. A court in central Comilla had even issued warrants
against the three TIB executives but recalled the order later
because of "procedural flaws" in filing the suit by a lawyer.

Law minister Shafique Ahmed earlier dubbed the TIB
report "confusing" and "incorrect" and feared the people might
lose confidence in the judiciary due to such reports "prepared
without proper data and information".

He, however, acknowledged that some corrupt people in
the judiciary besmirched the judiciary by soliciting money
from people by providing them with wrong advices but "it does
not reflect the scenario of the whole judiciary".

PTI

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