Vol. 5 Num 1124 Sun. July 29, 2007  
Front Page

Corruption Conviction
Once bigwigs now face poll exclusion

A good number of former ministers and lawmakers including some bigwigs who have been detained on corruption charges will not be able to contest the next parliamentary election if they fail to free themselves from conviction before the polls.

Detained Awami League President Sheikh Hasina will be disqualified from contesting the polls, if she is punished on charge of corruption under the Emergency Power Ordinance rules. The authorities are also preparing to file corruption cases against BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia.

One will be disqualified from contesting any polls including the parliamentary election if he or she is convicted by the trial court.

Filing appeal against the trial court's verdict will not remove the bar until and unless one is acquitted of the conviction through the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court.

To realise its plan, the government has already formulated stringent rules blocking the ways for the graft suspects to contest the polls and it is determined to complete the trial before the polls, scheduled for December 2008 according to the Election Commission's roadmap.

To deal with the corruption suspects, there are tougher rules under the Emergency Power Ordinance.

The constitution says a person shall not be eligible to stand in any election if he or she is convicted for a criminal offence involving moral turpitude and sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years unless a period of five years has elapsed since his release.

But according to the Emergency Power Ordinance rules, any person convicted for corruption by a trial court will be disqualified from contesting any election until adjudication of his or her appeal against the verdict and no convicted person shall ever be considered qualified for any post in the government, semi-government organisations, statutory bodies, or in any organisation that has government affiliation.

Communications Adviser MA Matin, who is also the chief of national taskforce on prevention of serious crimes and corruption, said, "We will try not to allow corrupt politicians to contest the elections…. Actions will be taken against all corrupt people irrespective of their political affiliations."

Matin said the anti-graft taskforce had so far investigated 131 corruption charges and investigation into 100 more similar cases will be completed in next three months.

According to the official record of the taskforce, 17 cases are under trial and 34 being investigated.

Quite a few senior and central leaders as well as a large number of grassroots level leaders of BNP and AL have been detained during the ongoing crackdown against corruption.

Former BNP ministers barrister Aminul Haque, Ruhul Quddus Talukder Dulu, Mir Nasir Uddin and Amanullah Aman, and former BNP lawmakers Ali Asgar Lobi, Nadim Mostafa, Abdul Wadud Bhuiyan, Abul Hossain Khan and senior leader Harris Chowdhury have already been convicted.

Former AL minister Dr Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir and former lawmakers Joynal Hazari and Shamim Osman have been convicted by the trial court.

A trial court also convicted Jatiya Party Chairman Anwar Hossain Manju.

Detained former ministers and senior leaders of BNP are Dr Khandakar Mosharraf Hossain, Moudud Ahmed, Nazmul Huda, Tariqul Islam, Salauddin Quader Choudhury, Altaf Hossain Chowhdury, Mirza Abbas, Tarique Rahman, Lutfozzaman Babar, Fazlur Rahman Patal, AKM Mosharraf Hossain and Iqbal Hassan Mahmood.

Detained former BNP lawmakers are Sarwar Jamal Nizam, MA Hashem, Joynal Abedin Faruk, Harunur Rashid, Hafiz Ibrahim, Mosaddak Ali Falu, Nasiruddin Ahmed Pintu, Manzurul Ahsan Munshi, Mizanur Rahman Minu, Majibur Rahman Sarwar, Salahuddin Ahmed, Naser Rahman and MH Selim.

Detained AL leaders and former lawmakers are Abdul Jalil, Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, Kazi Zafarullah, Salman F Rahman, Mohammad Nasim, Obaidul Quader, Engineer Mosharraf Hossain, Lotus Kamal, Shamsur Rahman Sharif, Rafiqul Anwar, ABM Mohiuddin Chowhdury and Badruddin Ahmed Kamran.

AL leaders and former lawmakers Abul Hasnet Abdullah, Syed Abul Hossain, Mirza Azam, Sheikh Helaluddin, and Jahangir Kabir Nanok are on the run to evade arrest.

Former Jamaat-e-Islami lawmakers Dr Abdullah Taher, Gazi Nazrul Islam and Mizanur Rahman Chowdhury were detained on charge of corruption.

Liberal Democratic Party leaders Redwan Ahmed and Abdul Karim Abbasi were also detained.