TIB's Analysis of Upazila Parishad Election Affidavits

The Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB)

The Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB)

The Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) recently conducted an analysis of the affidavits submitted by candidates in the Sixth Upazila Parishad Election. This analysis revealed alarming trends regarding the accumulation of wealth, misuse of power, and the neglect of public interest in local elections.

Key Findings

Wealth Growth: The analysis found that the wealth growth rate of certain elected officials, including Upazila chairmen, vice chairmen, and women vice chairmen, surpassed that of Members of Parliament. Over 251 candidates witnessed an increase in income by more than 100 percent within five years, with staggering individual cases such as a female vice chairman's income rising by 31,900 percent.

Millionaires in Upazila Parishads: Among the elected officials, there are 132 millionaires, indicating a concerning trend of wealth accumulation within local governance bodies.

Abuse of Power: TIB highlighted the abuse of power in the name of public representation, leading to the development of wealth without being held accountable. Public representative positions are increasingly viewed as avenues for amassing wealth, rather than serving the public interest.

Legal Cases: The analysis revealed that 858 candidates have cases against them, indicating a significant number of individuals with legal issues seeking public office.

Educational Qualifications and Professions: A notable proportion of candidates have graduate or higher educational qualifications (57% of chairman candidates), while a majority are businessmen (69%).

Discrepancies in Asset Declaration: Approximately 84 percent of candidates' affidavits and income tax returns showed discrepancies in asset calculation, raising concerns about transparency and accountability.

Notable Figures

  1. Ferdousi Islam, chairman of Narsingdi's Shivpur, owns movable assets worth 174 crore 11 lakh taka, the highest among the elected officials.
  2. Dewan Ashid Raja Chowdhury, chairman of Doarabazar, leads in land ownership with 280 acres.

Conclusion

The findings of TIB's analysis underscore the urgent need for reforms in local governance and electoral processes. The unchecked accumulation of wealth, abuse of power, and lack of transparency threaten the principles of good governance, democracy, and anti-corruption efforts. Addressing these issues requires concerted efforts from political leadership, civil society, and other stakeholders to ensure that public representation prioritizes the interests of citizens and promotes accountability and transparency.

Recommendations

  1. Implement strict measures to monitor and regulate the financial activities of elected officials.
  2. Enhance transparency in asset declaration and income sources of candidates.
  3. Strengthen mechanisms for accountability and oversight in local governance.
  4. Promote ethical and public welfare-oriented leadership in politics.
  5. Facilitate public participation and awareness in the electoral process to hold representatives accountable.

TIB's analysis and observations were presented by Mohammad Tauhidul Islam, director of the organization's outreach and communication department, and the research team. The contributions of Sumaiya Khair, Rifat Rahman, KM Rafiqul Alam, and Ikramul Haque Ivan are appreciated.

This report aims to raise awareness about the critical issues identified in the analysis and stimulate discussions on necessary reforms to uphold the integrity of local governance and democracy.

   


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