The Anti-Corruption Commission yesterday arrested a union-level deputy assistant land officer after he was found making a fortune out of land acquisitions for the government's development work in Cox's Bazar's Moheshkhali upazila.
After months of investigation, the ACC arrested Joynal Abedin, deputy assistant land officer of the upazila's Kalamarchora union, from the port city's GEC circle in the afternoon. He was sent to jail.
Mohammad Sarif Uddin, deputy assistant officer of ACC Chattogram Integrated Office-02, told The Daily Star that Joynal's name appeared when he opened investigation into the irregularities in land acquisition process in February last year.
Sarif said Joynal had deposit schemes worth crores in the name of his wife, brother, sister-in-law and himself.
He also bought 20 decimal land worth Tk 2 crore at a prime location near Cox's Bazar Medical College. He was also the owner of a four-storey building at Peskar para of Cox's Bazar town.
The anti-graft body found 14 sales deeds as proof of Joynal owning huge amounts of land at Cox's Bazar. The corruption committed by Joynal involves around Tk 100 crore, including movable and immovable assets.
Sarif said, "He [Joynal] started his job at Keruntholi land office in 2016. When massive land acquisition started in Kalamarchora, Joynal managed his high ups and took charge of Kalamarchora union land office in 2018 as additional duty."
Massive development work was going on at the government-acquired 7,000 acres of land from Kalamarchora union and at another 5,333 acres at Keruntholi union, Sarif said, adding that Joynal took it as opportunity to realise 30-50 percent commission from genuine land owners. Anyone refusing to give him commission would have to face trouble in the land acquisition process.
The land official hid information about his assets in his income tax profile, the ACC found.
Sarif added that if one wants to get compensation of his land, which the government acquired, he or she has to pay land revenue first.
"Joynal would not register the revenue, if anyone refused to give him bribes. Without the revenue slip, it is not possible for land owners to get the compensation for their land. So, people were forced to pay him," he said.
The Daily Star last year had run a couple of stories regarding the corruption surrounding land acquisition.
The government acquired around 30,000 acres of land in various upazilas of Cox's Bazar for development works worth Tk 3.5 lakh crore.