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18 candidates have assets worth over Tk100cr: TIB

Staff Correspondent
26 Dec 2023 21:25:16 | Update: 26 Dec 2023 21:25:16
18 candidates have assets worth over Tk100cr: TIB

Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) on Tuesday revealed that among the 1,920 candidates participating in the upcoming 12th parliamentary election, 18 have assets worth over Tk 100 crore. An additional 164 candidates possess assets above Tk 1 crore.

In the 9th national election, almost 27 per cent of candidates of Bangladesh Awami League had assets worth over Tk 1 crore, which now has increased to 82.17 per cent in 15 years. Besides, 46.97 per cent of independent candidates have been classified as wealthy.

TIB presented this analysis at a press conference in Dhaka, drawing from affidavits submitted by candidates to the Election Commission. Mohammad Tauhidul Islam, TIB's outreach and communication coordinator, delivered the keynote paper.

A noteworthy trend observed is the surge in independent candidates, with 347 contesting in this election, representing 18 per cent of the total. However, the majority of these candidates fall outside the ruling party's fold or are ‘rebel candidates’.

Businessmen-turned-MP aspirants are also making their presence known, with a 57 per cent participation rate – the highest in four elections. This represents a 21 per cent increase in their involvement over the past 15 years.

Responding to inquiries, TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman said, “Certain businessmen leverage their financial clout to enter politics. Their primary aim is to exploit politics for personal enrichment, and they often succeed.”

Despite no party fielding candidates in all 300 seats, every seat boasts at least one candidate affiliated with or supporting the ruling party.

About 57 per cent have graduate and postgraduate academic credentials Meanwhile, a noteworthy 13.66 per cent identify as self-educated.


The combined amount of the candidates’ fixed assets is Tk 66,751 crore. Investments in bonds, debentures, shares, and other financial instruments add another Tk 10,428 crore to the total.

This analysis, spanning the past four national elections, reveals the persistent trend of Awami League candidates holding the lion's share of wealth. This figure has steadily climbed from 27.94 per cent in 2008 to 61.54 per cent in 2014, 83.15 per cent in 2018 and lastly 86.96 per cent in 2023.

Comparative calculations of affidavits show that the income of some of the members of the 11th Parliament has increased by more than 2,000 per cent in the last 15 years.

Golam Dastagir Gazi, candidate for Narayanganj-1 constituency and current textiles and jute minister, is the richest person on the list with Tk 1,345.77 worth of assets.

TIB Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman raised concerns about the veracity of declared assets, “The income, assets, debts, and liabilities presented in candidate affidavits have not been verified for accuracy, nor the extent to which they were acquired legitimately.”

He further questioned the declared value of assets and said, “Candidates show their earned wealth in the affidavit, but do they show the complete picture? Is there a possibility they have concealed assets held within or outside the country?”


Despite the Land Reforms Bill of 2023 setting a maximum limit of 60 bighas for agricultural land and 100 bighas total (including non-agricultural land), several candidates own vast landholdings exceeding these limits.

Md Golam Kabir Bhuiyan, an independent candidate for Kishoreganj-3, boasts 647.62 acres of agricultural land, exceeding the legal limit of 20 acres.

Similarly, Md Zakir Hossain Khan, a Jatiya Party candidate for Jamalpur-5, owns 813.02 acres of non-agricultural land – 793.02 acres above the permitted limit.

TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman raised concerns about discrepancies and lack of transparency.

He said, “Some candidates provide inconsistent information about landholdings across elections, and there is no mechanism to verify their accuracy. Additionally, the current process for public disclosure of affidavit data by the Election Commission makes it cumbersome and challenging to analyse effectively.”

Debts and liabilities

Nearly 27 per cent of the candidates in the upcoming election are in debt, with a combined liability exceeding Tk 16,165.28 crore. Bank loans contribute Tk 11,950.4 crore, while personal debts amount to Tk 4,214.88 crore.

Among the parties, Awami League leads with the highest percentage of indebted candidates at 49.30 per cent.

Topping the list of indebted candidates is independent SAK Ekramuzzaman from Brahmanbaria-1, with a staggering Tk 2,537.85 crore in debts.

The executive director raised further concerns about potential inconsistencies.

“TIB has received reliable information suggesting a cabinet minister possesses multiple companies abroad, unreported in their affidavit. Six companies, owned by the minister and spouse, are actively engaged in foreign real estate, with a combined asset value exceeding Tk 2,145 crore,” Iftekharuzzaman said.

He expressed hope for increased transparency through TIB's initiative, “We have launched an online platform called 'Know Your Candidate,' providing voters and electoral bodies with easy access and analysis of candidate affidavits.”

TIB Trustee Board Chairman Advocate Sultana Kamal, Outreach and Communication Division Director Sheikh Manjur-E-Alam, Executive Management Advisor Professor Sumaiya Khair, and others attended the press conference.