Sub-Registrars' Offices: Service seekers face harassment
Service seekers at a mass hearing organised by the Anti-Corruption Commission yesterday said they faced nothing short of harassment at sub-registrar offices.
At least eight participants spoke of the “bitter experiences” they had at several sub-registrar offices during the hearing in the capital's Institute of Diploma Engineers.
Hearing the allegations, the ACC Commissioner Nasiruddin Ahmed decided to enquire about the wealth of Dhaka sadar Sub-register Abdul Kuddus Hawladar and look into the allegations of irregularities at the sub-registrar office in Savar.
One of the participants, Gazi Shahidullah said his land documents, prepared in 2010, were still lying at the sub-registrar office in Tejgaon.
Shahidullah said he went to the sub-registrar office in Tejgaon on May 27 this year to get his land registry document.
But he was asked to give Tk 13,000 for a service supposed to be free.
At the office, a man named Russell informed Shahidullah that his deed was sent to a “burning section” because it had been lying in the record room for a long time.
Shahidullah told the hearing that Russell claimed the sub-registry office did not keep deeds older than seven years and routinely burnt them.
“But your deed is not burnt yet,” Shahidullah quoted Russell as saying.
Russell then asked for Tk 13,000 in exchange of the deed.
“The money will be distributed among several officials and you'll get your deed in two days.”
Shahidullah then told Russell that he wanted to meet the sub-registrar, but Russell and another man named Sazzad told him that meeting the sub-registrar would be of no use.
Shahidullah told the hearing that he had talked to sub-registrar Abdul Kuddus Hawladar at the office room of the latter. Abdul Kuddus then called Russell to his room and asked Shahidullah to settle the matter with Russell.
Addressing the audience at the mass hearing, Shahidullah said, “I have all the legal documents. Why do I need to give them Tk 13,000?”
At this point, ACC Director (Dhaka division) Nasim Anwar asked Abdul Kuddus Hawladar, who was present at the event, to give his explanation of the event described by Shahidullah.
Hawladar, at first, said he could not remember whether Shahidullah went to his office. But as the ACC director continued to quiz him, he admitted that the victim went to his office.
Hawladar then said, “It's difficult to retrieve the deed at this stage. Let's see what can be done.”
He also suggested that Shahidullah go to his office again.
He was booed by the audience as he spoke.
ACC director Nasim Anwar asked, “If it is difficult for you to retrieve the deed, how come Sazzad and Russell can manage it?
“What are the designations of Sazzad and Russell?”
The sub-register replied, “They are not my staffers.” Audience laughed out loud at his reply.
“Why are they involved in official tasks then?” the ACC director asked.
As the audience demanded enquiry into the wealth of the sub-registrar, ACC Commissioner Nasir Uddin said the ACC would look into it.
Another complainant Kamruzzaman Khan described how brokers and officials at the sub-registrar office in Savar deprived the government of revenues.
ACC Commissioner Nasir Uddin than said the ACC would look into allegations of anomalies there.