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Lost EC laptop reportedly used to make fake NIDs for Rohingyas

  • Published at 04:25 pm September 16th, 2019
web-NID card Rohingya national Nur Mohammad
Photo showing NID number of Rohingya national Nur Mohammad Dhaka Tribune

ACC officials suspect the Rohingyas are getting NIDs in collusion with corrupt EC (Election Commission) officials and local representatives, as NID information cannot be uploaded without licensed computers

A special laptop for inputting NID information reportedly went missing from the Chittagong District Election office in 2015. 

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) believes the ‘lost’ laptop reportedly used for the purpose of making voter lists, was later used to forge NIDs for Rohingyas.

This was revealed when an ACC investigation team visited the Chittagong District Election office on Sunday.

The four-member team led by ACC Deputy Assistant Director Sharif Uddin, visited the Chittagong election office to investigate suspicious entries in the NID server and the incident of Rohingyas caught with Bangladeshi NIDs and passports. 

ACC officials suspect the Rohingyas are getting NIDs in collusion with corrupt EC (Election Commission) officials and local representatives, as NID information cannot be uploaded without licensed computers.

Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, ACC’s Deputy Assistant Director Sharif Uddin said the election office is the legal custodian of the missing laptop.

“The special laptop used at the Chittagong election office (IP No. 4391) had gone missing. The special laptop had a direct connection to the NID server with a designated IP address and the Election Commission officials have no clue about the missing laptop. The election office could have lodged a general diary, informed its higher authority, and blocked the license of the missing computer. Regrettably, the election office did not take any steps in the last four years regarding the missing laptop. That’s why we suspect there is collusion between EC staff and local public representatives,” said the ACC official.   

 “The Chittagong Divisional Passport and Visa Office have provided us with a list of 154 Rohingyas who have managed to obtain NIDs. As part of the investigation, we are trying to identify all those who helped the Rohingyas obtain NIDs,” the ACC official added.   

District Election Official Munir Hossain Khan said the ACC has launched an investigation on how the Rohingyas managed to become voters.

“ACC officials have come to the office on two occasions and talked to EC officials and employees. We enlist people as voters with valid documents and local public representatives have an important role to play in this regard,” said the EC official.  

Regarding the missing laptop, the EC official said: “The incident happened before I joined the office. However, we are looking into the matter.”       

On September 5, a police team from Akbar Shah police station arrested three Rohingyas with Bangladeshi passports from the Kattoli area of Chittagong.

During primary interrogation, the three confessed they obtained passports from the Noakhali passport office through a middleman. The Rohingyas listed Senbag upazila of Noakhali district as their address in their passports. 

On the same day, Chittagong Divisional Passport and Visa Office officials detained a Rohingya youth trying to obtain a Bangladeshi passport hiding his identity.

Legal action if any EC staff found involved in helping Rohingyas get NIDs: Election Commissioner Kabita Khanam

Election Commissioner Kabita Khanam yesterday said that any election official found helping Rohingyas obtain NIDs will face legal action.

She, however, also said that no EC staff is helping Rohingyas to enroll as voters, or get NIDs. 

“The EC will investigate the matter independently. Necessary action will be taken if any EC staff is found involved in any dubious manner,” she said, talking to reporters at the Chittagong District Election office in the city, following a meeting with field level election officials of Chittagong, Bandarban, and Cox’s Bazar districts.

She urged all to be on high alert so that the Rohingyas cannot get their names on the voter list, obtain NIDs, birth certificates, or passports, by concealing their true identities.

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