A Short Note on Corruption in Telecommunications in Bangladesh

37 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2012

See all articles by Ewan Sutherland

Ewan Sutherland

University of the Witwatersrand, LINK Centre

Date Written: September 3, 2012

Abstract

Telecommunications in Bangladesh suffers from endemic and severe corruption, with no indications that actions are being taken to bring it under control.

Procurement by the government, for the state-owned incumbent operator and for the operator of the undersea cable, has been subject to persistent corruption over many years.

The issuance of licenses has usually been by opaque and obscure methods, to cronies and to bribe-payers. Special classes of licenses have been created to facilitate this form of corruption. Under the caretaker government there was a brief period when politicians were prosecuted for corruption. However, these were all set aside once a “democratic” government had been elected, alleging they had been “politically motivated”. Substantial evidence, including admissions of guilt, were simply swept under the carpet.

The government ignores both its own law against corruption and the United Nations Convention against Corruption. Even the most blatant of evidence will be insufficient for it to act.

In one remarkable case, the owner of an operator had a special police unit arrest and torture one of its rivals in an attempt to obtain control of his business.

The effects on the telecommunications sector have been fewer market entrants, an absence of consolidation, artificial monopolies and bottlenecks, theft and fraud. It is remarkable that even against this background, significant progress has been made.

Keywords: Telecommunications, Mobile, Asia, Bangladesh, Governance, Corruption, Competition, Regulation

JEL Classification: L96, K14, K23, K33, K42

Suggested Citation

Sutherland, Ewan, A Short Note on Corruption in Telecommunications in Bangladesh (September 3, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2052355 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2052355

Ewan Sutherland (Contact Author)

University of the Witwatersrand, LINK Centre ( email )

1 Jan Smuts Avenue
Wits
Johannesburg, Gauteng 2000
South Africa

HOME PAGE: http://link.wits.ac.za/

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