Vol. 5 Num 742 Thu. June 29, 2006  
Front Page

MPs urged to disclose assets to check graft
Treasury bench remains mum on the AL proposal

Opposition Awami League (AL) yesterday in parliament called for disclosure of assets by the prime minister, opposition leader, ministers and lawmakers to check all-pervading corruption in society but the ruling party kept mum on the proposal.

LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan however expressed concerned over the spread of corruption and said: "The practice of bribing is going on from top to bottom. We have to build social resistance against corruption."

Bhuiyan, also secretary general of ruling BNP, echoed the Deputy Leader of the Opposition Abdul Hamid saying: "Stern punishments will have to be taken against the corrupt."

On the issue of hartal, Bhuiyan and Hamid agreed to sign an agreement during the caretaker government's tenure for not to enforce shutdown.

Participating in the budget discussion, Hamid said unabated corruption has rendered all policies and measures futile. "How can we expect the country to progress amid such unbridled corruption?" he said, adding that the country has been branded as the most corrupt one for consecutive four years of the four-party alliance government.

The former speaker proposed for disclosing details of assets of the PM, the opposition leader, ministers and lawmakers for the sake of checking grafts. "If the lawmakers submit their accounts of assets, the government employees will be alert and corruption will gradually recede," he said.

The LGRD minister, however, did not comment on Hamid's proposal.

Although it was ruling BNP's election pledge to disclose the accounts of assets of the PM, ministers and lawmakers, the party has so far made no move in this regard.

Leader of the Opposition Sheikh Hasina launched blistering attacks on the ministers and ruling party lawmakers, accusing them of making thousands of crores of taka through corruption.

Participating in the discussion on the proposed budget, Prime Minister Khaleda Zia spent about an hour describing in details her government's various successes. But the PM neither responded to the opposition's allegation of corruption nor spoke a single word on the burning issue in her 75-minute long speech.

She also did not refer to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), which is yet to start functioning, although her previous speeches in parliament boasted the government's success in forming it to check graft.

Mannan Bhuiyan proposed to re-fix the tenure of the parliament from five years to fours years.

On Hamid's inquiry about the dialogue on electoral reforms between the ruling and the opposition, Bhuiyan said he will be on the committee by dropping one of the two members rejected by the opposition.

The Awami League-led 14-party opposition combine had expressed its reservation over sitting in any dialogue with the ruling alliance with representation from Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Oikya Jote.