Call for a full and thorough investigation
Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has expressed grave concern over allegations of corruption and irregularities against the chief election commissioner, election commissioners, and other high officials. They were reportedly engaging in malpractice in the name of providing training for the national and upazila elections.
In a statement released on Tuesday, TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman expressed his dismay over media reports of election commissioners amassing huge sums of money as honorariums and allowances for ‘special speakers,’ ‘course speakers,’ and ‘course directors.’
The anti-graft watchdog also demanded the immediate resignation of the election commissioners concerned, and sought a full and thorough investigation into the allegations in an effort to restore the image of the Election Commission, a constitutional body of the state.
He also said it was the first time in the history of Bangladesh that constitutional posts, including the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and election commissioners, were allegedly involved in totally unacceptable activities, gravely violating the accepted standards and norms of a vital constitutional body of the government.
A recent report, published in a national Bangla daily, said the Chief Election Commissioner, the four commissioners, the Election Commission (EC) secretary, an additional secretary and two joint secretaries, pocketed funds allocated for delivering ‘special talks’ at training programs for the 11th national parliamentary elections and the upazila polls.
"Recent allegations of corruption highlighting the moral turpitude of EC officials drew more consternation than the recent pillow scam at the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant," he said in the statement.
“The Election Commission could not evade its responsibility and it has become a questionable constitutional body,” the TIB chief added.
The TIB executive director added that the recent events involving irregularities in the December 30, 2018, national elections had apparently failed to realize the people's expectations.
"In an effort to reconstitute the image of the Election Commission in the face of widespread corruption allegations, the CEC and other commissioners must bow out, while the authorities concerned should launch investigations to hold people in power accountable."
With that in mind, the astonishing financial gains of EC officials, in the name of delivering talks, has further dampened the people's trust in the Election Commission.