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Dhaka Tribune

ACC likely to scrutinise wealth of reserved women MPs

Update : 12 Apr 2014, 07:09 PM

The Anti-Corruption Commission is looking into the wealth information of newly-elected women lawmakers to reserved seats in parliament. However, it is in dilemma on dealing with the matter extensively since only nine out of 50 served as lawmakers in the previous parliament.

Officials say since most of the reserved seat lawmakers are first-timers, it is difficult to ascertain the growth of their wealth in the past years due to lack of data.

The special inquiry and investigation department of the state agency is working on the issue. ACC Secretary Faizur Rahman Chowdhury told the Dhaka Tribune that the commission would take action against the candidates if found guilty.

According to an analysis by citizens’ body for good governance Shushashoner Jonno Nagorik (SHUJAN), total assets of the nine MPs increased on an average by 224% between 2008 and 2013 while income by 151%.

Among them, the assets of Awami League lawmaker Pinu Khan witnessed the highest rise – 25 times. Jatiya Party MP Mahjabin Morshed’s wealth rose by around 15 times while her party colleague Noor-e-Hasna Lily Chowdhury’s seven times.

ACC Chairman M Bodiuzzaman told the Dhaka Tribune that the commission was not ready yet to make a “formal move” in this regard as many of the lawmakers were first-timers.

“We have collected newspaper clippings and forwarded those to our special inquiry and investigation department. They will analyse the documents and make a decision considering the findings,” he said.

“We are yet to receive any allegation against them. But if we get any, the ACC will surely conduct inquiry into their wealth.”

Currently, the ACC is inquiring into the wealth of at least three former ministers including AFM Ruhal Haq and Abdul Mannan Khan; six sitting MPs including Awami League’s Cox’s Bazar lawmaker Abdur Rahman Badi, Dhaka 14 MP Aslamul Haque Aslam, Rajshahi 4 lawmaker Enamul Haque and Jatiya Party MP Ruhul Amin Hawlader; and three former lawmakers.

Anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International Bangladesh’s Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman observes that if there is inconsistency between wealth and legitimate income of a publicly-exposed person, it should be brought under the law.

Increase in wealth is nothing unusual, but it should be considered whether it is accumulated through a legitimate way and whether the person has misused power.

“The Anti-Corruption Commission should come forward to work into the disproportionate wealth of lawmakers, if any,” he said.

“Since a faction of lawmakers have been elected unopposed, the authorities should disclose their wealth information prior to the poll. It will help the authorities later to look into the inconsistencies, if any,” Iftekharuzzaman added.

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