6th Upazila Elections (1st Phase)

TIB Analysis Reveals Wealth Surge, Possible Misreporting in Affidavits of Local Govt. Elections

Published: 06 May 2024

A chairman candidate of the upcoming first phase of the Upazila Election has had an income surge of 3,319 per cent just in the last 5 years. A dependent of a chairman candidate increased their movable assets by 12,400% since 2019. Moreover, at least 9 candidates have more land than the legal limit of 33 acres, the maximum being around 74 acres owned by one single candidate. Instances of such discrepancies were highlighted in the analysis of affidavits of candidates of the 6th Upazila Election conducted by Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB).

The TIB analysis revealed a pattern of concerning wealth spikes and possible asset and income fraud. The anti-corruption organisation has also pointed out that such instances were first observed in the analysis of affidavits in the recent national election by TIB, and this trend continues in the local government level. According to TIB, state institutions that regulate this, have been inactive.

Dr. Iftekharuzzaman, the Executive Director of TIB, called the 1st phase analysis results as shocking. He pointed out that many candidates' earnings have increased significantly, surpassing even national election candidates. Concerns exist over the legitimacy and accuracy of the information provided in the affidavits as well. Some candidates reported unrealistically low incomes, raising doubts. Moreover, there is a lack of clarity on how candidates' dependents have seen such dramatic increases in income and wealth.

Dr. Iftekharuzzaman highlighted that relying solely on candidates' affidavits for information raises issues related to reliability, verification, and enforcement of laws. He criticized the Election Commission (EC), National Board of Revenue (NBR), and Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for not validating affidavits.

The analysis by TIB has further revealed that 23.41 per cent candidates have loans or liabilities. The highest amount of loan is BDT 1,528 crore. It also portrayed that 16.64 per cent candidates in the first phase of the Upazila elections have been accused in legal cases. Among chairman position aspirants, 94 candidates are multi-millionaires. Compared to the previous election, that number has increased almost three folds (37 multi-millionaires in the 5th Election).

TIB has unveiled the ‘Know Your Candidate (KYC)’ dashboard containing the multi-dimensional and comparative analysis, overall picture, and Upazila-based comparisons based on 8 types of information provided in almost 4,800 affidavits of the 4th, 5th, and 6th Upazila Elections. This analysis is aimed at helping citizens choose the right candidate, and to assist government agencies in taking action against irregularities.

The publicly accessible dashboard and full presentation is available here - https://www.ti-bangladesh.org/kyc