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Thursday, December 20, 2012
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News Analysis
Bank Owner cum Minister

Clear violation of constitution

Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir's recent move to become chairman of the proposed Farmers' Bank clearly goes against the country's constitution.

Let alone the chairmanship, the constitution in no way allows him to be involved in the management or conduct of the proposed bank.

Under pressure from government high-ups, the central bank on April 8 gave approval to nine new banks, including the Farmers' Bank. At the time of its approval, Alamgir, also chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on public accounts, was one of the 13 directors of the bank.

When the necessary documents were submitted to the central bank on October 16 for purposes of acquiring a licence, the name of Alamgir was proposed as its chairman. The proposal placed the central bank officials scrutinising the documents in a complicated situation as they could not find ways to handle it.

Article 147 (3) of the constitution strictly imposed a bar on the president, the prime minister, ministers and some other constitutional officials from holding any office, post or position of profit or emolument or taking any part whatsoever in the management or conduct of any company, association or body having profit or gain as its object.

Therefore, through this article, Alamgir, who took the oath of office as a minister on September 13, automatically stood disqualified from being chairman of the bank.

Naturally, his move to become chairman of the proposed bank has surprised many. Questions were raised as to how he took such a step, ignoring the constitutional provision. As per the oath taken by him as a minister, it is Alamgir's responsibility to preserve, protect and defend the constitution.

Eminent jurist Shahdeen Malik analysing the constitutional provision says Alamgir has definitely taken steps towards violation of the constitution.

Agreeing with Malik, financial rules expert M Hafizuddin Khan, who is also a former comptroller and auditor general, says there is no scope for the home minister to remain involved in the running of the proposed bank. "There is no need to look for any other financial rules and regulations as the constitutional provision is crystal clear."

In the past, Awami League leader Abdul Jalil and BNP leader Mirza Abbas had to resign from the chairmanship of two banks, Mercantile Bank Ltd and Dhaka Bank Ltd, when they were appointed ministers during the previous Awami League- and BNP-led governments.

Now Alamgir would have to decide whether he wants to become the chairman of the proposed bank, a profit-making venture, by resigning from the cabinet or turn his back on the bank and continue being a minister.

Or, more ominously, will the central back allow him to become the chairman of the proposed bank ignoring the relevant constitutional provision and let him retain his ministerial berth?

WHAT THE CONSTITUTION SAYS
147. (1) The remuneration, privileges and other terms and conditions of service of a person holding or acting in any office to which this article applies shall be determined by or under Act of Parliament, but until they are so determined -

(a) they shall be those (if any) appertaining to the person holding or, as the case may be, acting in the office in question immediately before the commencement of this Constitution; or

(b) if the preceding sub clause is not applicable, they shall be determined by order made by the President.

(2) The remuneration, privileges and other terms and conditions of service of a person holding or acting in any office to which this article applies shall not be varied to the disadvantage of any such person during his term of office.

(3) No person appointed to or acting in any office to which this article applies shall hold any office, post or position of profit or emolument or take any part whatsoever in the management or conduct of any company, association or body having profit or gain as its object:

Provided that such person shall not for the purposes of this clause be deemed to hold any such office, post or position by reason only that he holds or is acting in the office first above mentioned.

(4) This article applies to the offices of – (a) President; (b) Prime Minister; (c) Speaker or Deputy Speaker; (d) Minister, Minister of State or Deputy Minister; (e) Judge of the Supreme Court; (f) Comptroller and Auditor General; (g) Election Commissioner; (h) Member of a public service commission.

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Bongabir Kader siddiki has said our home minister was Razakar. He ordered BCL against oppositions so we saw killing of Bishawjit and other 3 people by BCL. Now he himself violets constitution. He should resign from his ministry. We want his trial.

: masum

He wants to have the best of both worlds.

: Truth Teller

Comments

  • S. Ahmad
    Thursday, December 20, 2012 12:34 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    What is constitution? You must be joking. Constitution is what the people in power say and do. Full stop and stop speeding alarm of our most benevolent government.

  • Truth Teller
    Thursday, December 20, 2012 12:35 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    MKA gives a damn to the so-called constitution. He is the Constitution.

  • commonsense
    Thursday, December 20, 2012 12:50 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    He will leave the cabinet to retain his control over his bank. But, I do not know when will he take that crucial decision!

  • Roni Rahman
    Thursday, December 20, 2012 12:57 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    When a culture of rampant violations of rule of law by the political leaders becomes the prevalent 'rule of law', any outrageous misrule is to be expected as non-surprise outcome. As a consequence there is not much civil society left in its efficacy. Our moral decays and helplessness are at its worse when majority of us remain silent in accepting the continuous downward slides of our institutions and the overall social states evinced by instances like freeing top murderers and terrorists like Bikash by home minister MKA, attempts by AL/MKA to shelter BCL murderers of Bishawjit and pardoning of convicted murders by the President in a wholesale manner, sheltering the corrupt ministers on Padma bridge episodes etc.

  • suahmed
    Thursday, December 20, 2012 01:45 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    MKA might have got the approval from BB by showing his power as HM. Constitution is always violated by ruling party on ill motive and remains unpunished. So far constitution was violated many times and none was punished.

  • Dr. Nazmul Haq
    Thursday, December 20, 2012 02:14 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    This guy seems to be above law. Even if the law does not permit him to be owner or majority or beneficial share holder to become chair of the bank, it should not be a problem. The solution lies in changing the constitution by convening the parliament. IT will take few minutes for our parliament to do that.

  • Nasim Hasan
    Thursday, December 20, 2012 03:27 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    Well, ladies and gentlemen, he may be a minister but he is a man above all. People of Bangladesh gave him the passage to be an MP and with his charisma he has managed to become a very important minister. It is an open secret in this country that you need to make certain person or certain family 'happy' to become something like a minister. The concepts of honesty, morals, ethics and values are obsolete in Bangladeshi politics. Here leaders are not born but made by the measures of bank balance, political donations, loyalty to parties instead of people and country. Besides 'in a country where most of the people are illiterate, there democracy is nothing but a tool for suppression'. So, these kinds of incidents don't surprise us anymore. Just living with a hope that things will change someday. Otherwise the death of three million people will completely go into astray.

  • Barkat
    Thursday, December 20, 2012 03:57 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    Constitution is not for the minister or the politically powerful people. Constitution is used to rule the people suppress the opposition and benefit the ruler. How many of these minister and people in power do really know the constitution. Most of them are involved in corruption & crime. The people in power are the one who least bother about constitution.

  • Abul
    Thursday, December 20, 2012 04:02 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    Governor of Bangladesh Bank should have taken firm decision about Farmer's Bank according to role of law of the country. No exception.

  • Shafique ullah
    Thursday, December 20, 2012 06:54 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    The finance ministry is very slow to give proper clarification. Delaying any thing proves they are working against the Govt. and the state policy.

  • shaheen subhan
    Thursday, December 20, 2012 07:13 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    Clearly MKA has no other option but to resign. He can't have it both ways. But again MAK is a member of the ruling party and is likely to treat this demand with impunity !!

  • Anowar Hossain
    Thursday, December 20, 2012 07:16 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    Taking oath as a minister Alamgir took oath to keep the constitution upholds not to violate the constitution. It is ethical question also to keep a profit making position for a person who holds state important post. There are chances for him to use the state power for his own business interest. As a controversial character in politics, it would not be very difficult for him to do such unethical job.

  • Obaid
    Thursday, December 20, 2012 10:10 AM GMT+06:00 (93 weeks ago)

    Alamgir is violator in all matter. Being home minister he orders violence by students' league with Shibir. He came to Janatar manch being a govt officer. He is really an uncivilized village politician.


 

 


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