The law enforcement agencies of the country, specifically the police and RAB, are considered the most corrupt, according to a survey by the Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB).
At least 70.9% of surveyed households in the country were subjected to some form of corruption last year, the TIB said.
Some 74.4% of surveyed households were victims of corruption by law enforcement agencies – the most corrupt service sector in the country – the anti-corruption watchdog found in its "Corruption in Service Sectors: National Household Survey 2021".
The findings of the survey were unveiled at a press conference held in Dhaka on Wednesday, where it was seen that the Department of Immigration and Passport (70.5%) and the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) (68.3%) occupied the second and third positions among the most corrupt service sectors.
A total of 15,840 households were surveyed to get the findings.
As per the report, in 2021 some 99.5% of Bangladeshi households received services from different sectors and in the process 75.2% urban households experienced more corruption than those of rural areas (72.7%).
A major form of corruption experienced by 55.7% of households is bribery, followed by misconduct (11.9%), intimidation (8%), filing false cases (5%), delaying or showing negligence in preparing a general diary or taking a statement (4.1%), not taking steps after getting complaints (3.6%), etc. Those who paid a bribe or were forced to pay a bribe paid Tk6,698 on average.
In terms of agencies concerned, the highest proportion of households experienced corruption from the traffic police (92%), highway police (89.1%), police station (67.4%) and the lowest from the special branch (17.3%).
Apart from those mentioned, households also became victims of corruption while seeking judicial services (56.8%), health services (48.7%), local government organisations (46.6%), and land services (46.3%).
The most visible form of corruption is bribery or illegitimate payment of money with 40.1% of those surveyed said they paid bribes or were forced to make illegitimate payments at some point.
Based on the Population Census 2022, the projected households in Bangladesh in November 2021 were about 40.7 million.
Considering the total number of households, the total bribe and illegitimate payment of money at the national level for the period of December 2020 to November 2021 was estimated at Tk108,301 million. At current market value, this amount is equivalent to 0.4% of Gross Domestic Product.
In rural areas, 71.2% of households became victims of corruption; and the corresponding figure in urban areas is 70.7%.
Executive Director of TIB Iftekharuzzaman said most of the people interviewed were reluctant to complain against corruption as they had been forced to pay bribes.
"That may indicate that the measures the government has taken against corruption are not gaining trust or even the Anti-Corruption Commissions' hotline number or manual complaining system hasn't got momentum," he said.
In Bangladesh, it is widely recognised that corruption is one of the major obstacles to poverty reduction and development.
TIB has been conducting a national survey in the service sectors since 1997 to identify the nature and extent of corruption in them.
When contacted, Police Headquarters did not immediately respond to queries about the ranking of the law enforcement agencies in the survey.