On December 14, 42 prominent citizens asked the president to form a Supreme Judicial Council to probe complaints of misconduct, including financial irregularities and graft
Allegations of corruption and irregularities against the Election Commission (EC), as mentioned in a letter by 42 eminent citizens, are untrue, motivated and baseless, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda said on Thursday.
The Election Commission chief made the claim while talking to the press at Nirbachan Bhaban in Dhaka’s Agargaon.
Election Commissioners Rafiqul Islam, Kabita Khanam and Brigadier General (retd) Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury, among others, were also present during the briefing.
However, the CEC did not take any questions from the reporters present, reports Bangla Tribune.
Earlier on December 14, a letter from 42 prominent citizens asked President Abdul Hamid to form a Supreme Judicial Council to probe complaints of misconduct, including financial irregularities and graft, against the Election Commission headed by KM Nurul Huda.
The eminent citizens said in the letter that the members of the Nurul Huda-led commission had been involved in many instances of serious misconduct and corruption since they took office in February 2017.
Prof Serajul Islam Choudhury, former caretaker government adviser Akbar Ali Khan, retired civil servant M Hafizuddin Khan, former cabinet secretary Ali Imam Majumder, rights activist Hamdia Hossain, were among those who signed the letter.
The letter also said the irregularities included corruption, financial misconduct such as charging Tk2 crore for delivering speeches as special speakers and taking Tk4.08 crore for the recruitment process of Election Commission employees.
Responding to the allegations made about commission members taking huge sums of money as honoraria for attending election training events as special speakers instead of carrying out their constitutional duties, Huda said: “Tk2 crore was not even allocated for the 15 special speakers during the 11th general polls and fifth upazila parishad polls.
“So, the allegation of election commissioners embezzling Tk2 crore is based on untrue information. This is baseless and motivated,” he said, adding, “The Election Commission did not violate any constitutional provisions in this regard.”
According to him, Tk1.04 crore and Tk47.70 lakh were allocated for a total of 15 special speakers in the 11th national election and fifth upazila parishad elections respectively.
“Besides, the Election Commission secretary received an honorarium for being the training course adviser while the unused money was sent back to the treasury,” he added.
Claiming that the commission, in line with the constitution and existing law of the country, was the final authority of all administrative expenses related to elections, the CEC chief said: “All expenses are audited.”
“If any objection over the audit is not settled, the money spent will be returned to the treasury. All the processes involved are documented. So, there is no scope of irregularities,” he added.
Earlier, Election Commissioner Shahadat also criticized the letter, terming the allegations made through it were baseless and motivated on Sunday, a day after the eminent citizens disclosed in a virtual press briefing that they had written to the president over the issue.