• Thursday, Apr 15, 2021
  • Last Update : 11:23 pm

EC Kabita Khanam: Corruption allegations against commission aimed at making it controversial

  • Published at 08:33 pm February 4th, 2021
Election Commissioner Kabita Khanam-Dhaka Tribune
File photo: Election Commissioner Kabita Khanam speaking to the reporters during her visit in Rangpur on Thursday, June 20, 2019 Dhaka Tribune

She was speaking to the media at her office in Nirbachan Bhaban in Dhaka's Agargaon on Thursday

Allegations of corruption and other forms of misconduct levelled against the Election Commission in a letter by 42 eminent citizens are motivated and are aimed at making the organization controversial, Election Commissioner Kabita Khanam claimed on Thursday.

While speaking to the media at her office in Nirbachan Bhaban in Dhaka's Agargaon on Thursday, she said that some people were making various allegations to make the organization controversial.

Those involved with the commission remained transparent, just as they were in their previous jobs for years and counting, the election commissioner added. 

On December 14, the letter from 42 prominent citizens asked President Adbul 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 and rights activist Hamida Hossain were among the signatories of the letter.

The letter also noted that 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, Kabita Khanam said: "The trainees have been given honoraria since the training started, and still are. It is approved by the Election Commission.”

Responding to audit objections regarding the commission’s expenses, Kabita Khanam said: "An audit objection can come to any institution and it is not corruption as audits are conducted to find out whether or not the sector in which one spends money was spent properly."

Addressing the recent incidents of violence in the local government elections, the election commissioner said: “Law enforcement agencies are vigilant about neutralizing this in future. Violence is much less than before. The Election Commission has taken all necessary steps so that the election environment is not disrupted.”

She also said that the commission always investigated “specific allegations of irregularities regarding voting,” adding that the Election Commission would do anything necessary to maintain law and order during the upcoming polls across the country.

It is to be noted that the fourth and fifth phases of the municipality polls will be held on February 14 and 28, in that order.

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