Huge waqf property illegally transferred

Administrator cancels all previous transfer orders to stop the practice

Mahamudul Hasan

The waqf administration has cancelled all the orders it had issued for transfer or sale of waqf property amid reports of illegal sale of such property by estate managers or inheritors misusing the orders or making fake ones.
With the cancellation of the order, effective from October 22, 2014, no person or mutwalli (manager) could henceforth transfer a waqf property through sale, lease or mortgage using the transfer orders which were issued by waqf administrators before the enactment of the waqf (transfer and development of property) special provisions act-2013, said waqf officials.
They said that the waqf administration would take initiatives to recover the property which had already been transferred illegally by manipulating the administrator’s orders or using fake orders.
Sources at the waqf administration said that the dishonest inheritors or mutwallis had sold out several thousand acres of waqf land by producing a single order several times or making fake orders.
Assistant waqf administrator Md Fakrul Kabir in an investigation of the case of Abdul Aziz Khan and Joynab Bibi waqf estate in Sylhet in August this year found that the waqf administrator in three separate orders in 1979 and 1981 had permitted former mutwalli Shamsuddin Khan to sell out 5.60 acres of land of the estate.
But Shamsuddin Khan and present mutwalli Abdul Hamid Chowdhury had sold out 9.36 acres of land of the estate using the two transfer orders the waqf administrator had issued in 1981, the investigation found.
An investigation conducted by the religious affairs ministry in July this year found that Golam Kabir, mutwalli of Munshi Alim Uddin waqf estate at Dhamrai in Dhaka, and his associates produced fake orders of the waqf administrator and sold out more than 10 acres of land of the estate to different persons and institutions.
Waqf administration officials said they had also found that people had sold out waqf property even by managing permission from district administration though only the waqf administrator had the authority to give such order.
For example, deputy commissioner of Sylhet had given permission to Ghashitola Jam-e-Mosque waqf estate mutwalli to sell out a parcel of its land
following recommendation of Sylhet Sadar assistant commissioner (land) in 2013.
Waqf administrator Faiz Ahmed Bhuiyan told New Age on Monday that he had cancelled all the previous orders for transfer of waqf property in a bid to stop their illegal transfers.
The property transfer orders which have not yet been executed would also have no validity after the cancellation order, he said.
Faiz Ahmed said that they had unearthed a number of cases that people showing old or fake orders of waqf administrators were transferring waqf property illegally.
He said that they would send copies of the cancellation order to all sub-registrar offices and AC (land) offices so that people could not sell waqf property using previous orders of waqf administrators.
A senior waqf administration official said that in most of the cases, inheritors or mutwallis had sold waqf property beyond the need for its development by taking permission from waqf administrator before the new act came into effect.
He said that waqf administrator was the only authority to give permission for transfer of waqf property, but such transfers needed to go through a long process and scrutiny.
According to the Waqf (transfer and development of property) Special Provisions Act-2013, no waqf property could be transferred by way of sale or perpetual lease unless it is considered to be indispensably required for the necessity, welfare and interest of the waqf or its beneficiaries.
For transfer or development of any waqf property, under the new act, the inheritors or mutwallis would need to file application before the ‘special committee for transfer’ under the waqf administration for recommendation to the religious affairs ministry for approval after a through scrutiny.
The number of waqf estates across the country is more than 1.5 lakh while only 20,216 waqf estates having 6,06,107.232 acres of land had been enlisted with the waqf administration till date.
However, most of the waqf land property which had been endowed for supporting the poor and underprivileged people, now exist only on paper as the lion’s share of the property has gone under illegal occupation over the years, said waqf officials.

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