Vol. 5 Num 454 Sun. September 04, 2005  
Front Page

Women MPs furnish 'dubious' info with EC

The 36 candidates, who were declared elected to the women's reserved seats in parliament yesterday, have furnished the election commission (EC) with incomplete and misleading personal information while the High Court wants the commission to have detailed information.

Mohammad Zakoria, Joint Secretary of EC secretariat and the returning officer (RO) for the election to women's reserved seats, said he does not have the jurisdiction to seek further details from the candidates.

In this situation, he yesterday unofficially declared the candidates elected uncontested and sent their list to the EC for gazette notification.

Going through the information submitted by the candidates and disseminated by the RO, it was found that some candidates claim they do not have any movable property like hard cash or gold while some of them said they do not have any immovable property. Two or three of the candidates have even claimed to have no source of income at all.

Ruling BNP Vice-president Rabeya Chowdhury does not have any source of income and any movable property. She said she is a housewife and she owns a house in Comilla town. However, the lawmaker in her deposition to the RO did not mention the value of the house.

Each of the 30 ruling BNP candidates had to donate Tk 3 lakh to the party coffers on getting selected for the party ticket and spend Tk 30, 000 in seeking nomination.

None of the candidates have provided the RO with information on the properties of their dependants. Except two candidates of Jamaat-e-Islami, everyone claimed that none of their dependants has any loan.

Sarwari Rahman, vice-president of BNP, said she does not have any movable property, but has two houses, one in Gulshan and the other on Circuit House Road. She however did not mention the value of the houses. She said she is a housewife and her income comes from family business.

Describing her movable property, BNP candidate Khaleda Rabbani said she has gold ornaments worth about Tk 5 lakh. Advocate Rina Parvin, another ruling party candidate, said she has furniture, 50 tolas of gold, and Tk 2 lakh in cash. Hosne Ara Gias said she has a car and gold worth of Tk 70 lakh.

BNP candidate Yasmin Ara Haque described the 20 bighas of land that she owns in her village home as 'movable property'. Principal Noor Afroze Jyoti too has described her lands [worth of Tk 2 lakh] as 'movable property' while a house in Dhaka [worth of Tk 37 lakh] as 'immovable property'.

State Minister for Cultural Affairs Selima Rahman described politics and business as her profession and said a boutique shop is her source of income. She has 25 bighas of land worth about Tk 1.5 lakh at her village home. She said she has 103 tolas of gold and Tk 18 lakh deposited in bank. She however did not mention how much her boutique shop is worth.

BNP Women Affairs Secretary Begum Shamsunnahar Khaja Ahsanullah said she does not possess any immovable property. Her source of income is her ancestral property. She said she has movable property like cash money and gold, but did not mention the quantity or worth of those, according to the deposition she submitted to the RO.

Of the 36 candidates, only one candidate, Ferdous Akhtar Wahida, had a criminal case filed against her. The caretaker government withdrew the case, which was filed under public safety act by the previous Awami League government, Wahida said in her statement.

The High Court on May 24 directed the EC to collect personal information on the contenders in any parliamentary elections and disseminate those among the voters. The court asked the commission to gather information on the candidates' moveable and immovable property or assets and liabilities along with the details on their educational qualifications, professions, sources of income, etc.

Of the 45 reserved seats, 30 were allotted to BNP, nine to Awami League (AL), three to Jamaat-e-Islami, two to Jatiya Party (Ershad) and one to Bangladesh Jatiya Party (BJP) and Islami Oikya Jote. As AL had refused to take the seats and boycotted the election, BNP should get those as the majority party.

The MPs-elect on BNP ticket are Begum Shamsunnahar Khaja Ahsanullah, Selima Rahman, Khaleda Rabbani, Sarwari Rahman, Rabeya Chowdhury, Syed Nargis Ali, Khaleda Panna, Bilkis Akhtar Jahan Shirin, Ferdous Akhtar Wahida, Yasmin Ara Haque, Helen Zerin Khan, Rehena Akhtar Ranu, Rosy Kabir, Abeda Chowdhury, Nuri Ara Safa, Khandakar Nurjahan Yasmin Bulbul, Rawshan Ara Farid, Rina Parvin, Shahana Rahman, Noor Afroze Jyoti, Rokeya Ahmed Lucky, Hosne Ara Gias, Chaman Ara, Raihan Akhtar Banu, Kazi Sahera Akthar Shammi Sher, Sultana Ahmed, Tasmin Rana, Bilkis Islam, Shahria Akhtar Hossain and Jahan Panna.

Merina Rahman and Razia Fayez were elected from JP (Ershad), Amena Begum, Shahanara Sultana, and Sultana Razia from Jamaat-e-Islami, and Nabila Chowdhury from BJP and Islami Oikya Jote.