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“All Citizens are Equal before Law and are Entitled to Equal Protection of Law”-Article 27 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

Issue No: 36
September 8, 2007

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Human Rights Advocacy
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Law week

Over 100 flawed PSI certification detected
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has uncovered more than one hundred flawed pre-shipment inspection (PSI) certificates that could have cost the government over Tk 50 crore in lost revenue.The NBR has now launched an investigation into the suspicious deals with several customs officials believed to be involved in the crime.Four foreign companies issue pre-shipment inspection certificates. The certificates specify the quality, value and quantity of imported products.It is believed that the suspected certificates have been issued giving false details that allow the importer to evade tax, for example, by understating the value of goods.The NBR started monitoring the activities of the companies that issue pre-shipment inspection certificates in March this year and it has detected 110 defective certifications from over 1,000 complaints, sources said."We have primarily identified over 100 defective PSI certificates which will be investigated thoroughly to know the motives of the persons or institutions involved in the wrongdoings," Dr Rashidul Ahsan Chowdhury, member (Customs) said.Behind under-invoicing or over-invoicing, the importers could have several motives including evading taxes and laundering money, he said. Rashidul Ahsan said evading taxes through under-invoicing not only deprived the government of revenue but created opportunities for illegal drug and arms pedlars to transfer money from one country to another.The four companies, Cotecna, Bureau Veritas, SGS and Intertech Testing, were given the task of pre-shipment inspection in 2001, in an effort to reduce corruption in the import trade. However the NBR decided to probe their activities following complaints from local businesses. -The Daily Star, September 3.

Public Universities
Govt lifts restrictions on reopening
The caretaker government lifted restrictions on reopening of public universities and said the syndicates will now decide on resuming academic activities at the institutions.The decision was made at a meeting between Education Adviser Ayub Quadri and the vice chancellors of 26 public universities. "We have lifted all kinds of restrictions on reopening of the public universities. The syndicates of the respective universities will now decide on when they will reopen their institutions," the adviser told reporters. He said the syndicates would take decisions considering the prevailing situation on the campuses. "We will issue letters to all the public universities informing today's decision within two days," he added. The caretaker government imposed curfew in six divisional headquarters and shut down all universities and colleges directing to vacate all dormitories on August 22.Later the government lifted curfew and reopened private universities and other private educational institutes. The adviser hoped that most public universities excepting a few specially the Dhaka University (DU) and the Rajshahi University (RU) would reopen soon. "There is no plan to offer amnesty to the students of the DU and the RU," he said adding, "Actions will be taken according to the law." DU Vice Chancellor SMA Faiz said he would hold syndicate meeting soon and discuss about the government decision. The DU VC said he informed the adviser of the teachers' feelings of insecurity. He said the Dhaka University Teachers' Association (Duta) has proposed to reopen the university after Ramadan. -The Daily Star, September 4.

Khaleda lands in sub-jail
Escorted by police, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia waves before entering the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court in the capital. A Dhaka court yesterday sent BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia to jail and placed her younger son Arafat Rahman Koko on a seven-day remand a couple of hours after they were arrested on graft charges at their cantonment residence.The arrests followed close on the heels of the Anti-Corruption Commission's (ACC) filing the first graft case against the former premier and her son after the state of emergency came into force on January 11. In the case filed with the Tejgaon Police Station Khaleda, her son and 11 others were charged with violating tender conditions in appointing an indenting house for container handling. The joint forces hauled them and took them straight to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's (CMM) Court, Dhaka. -The Daily Star, September 4.

Iajuddin to continue as president
Law Adviser Mainul Hosein said though the tenure of President Iajuddin Ahmed ends on September 5, he will stay until the election of his successor. The adviser made the remark when reporters approached him for a government view about the unprecedented situation.
"As per the constitution, Iajuddin's tenure as president ends on September 5. The constitution also says that he will have to continue until the election of his successor," said Mainul.
Citing speculations that Iajuddin would be replaced, the adviser categorically said the present caretaker government would never violate the constitution. "It is the politicians who have violated the constitution. But the caretaker government will do its work as per the constitution," said Mainul. -Unb, Dhaka, September 5.

2 DU teachers sent to jail after remand
The two detained Dhaka University (DU) teachers arrested on charges of breaching the emergency power rules were sent to jail having spent 11 days in police custody. They were also shown arrested in another case filed with Ramna Police Station for vandalising public and private properties and obstructing police from performing duties at Shantinagar, Malibagh and Mouchak in the capital on August 22.On completion of a four-day remand, Ramna police produced the two teachers-- General Secretary of Dhaka University Teachers' Association Prof Anwar Hossain and DU Social Science Dean Prof Harun-or-Rashid-- before the court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Dhaka with a forwarding report. The case was filed against some 6,000 unnamed students, teachers and outsiders for damaging public and private property, obstructing police from performing duties and pelting policemen with stones on the DU campus on August 22. In the forwarding report, Sub-Inspector Sirajul Islam, also the investigation officer (IO) of the case, mentioned that the two arrestees gave important information about the incidents on the DU campus. So, they need to be confined to jail until the investigation of the case is completed, the IO said. After hearing both the sides, Metropolitan Magistrate Hassan Sarwar ordered to send them to jail. -The Daily Star, September 5.

Stranded Pakistanis
Govt moves to enroll them as voters

An inter-ministerial meeting agreed in principle to include the Urdu-speaking people, who were born in Bangladesh and showed allegiance to the country, in the voter list. The proposal will be implemented after final approval of the law ministry, meeting sources said. Mohammad Mohsin, additional secretary of the home ministry, presided over the meeting at the ministry in presence of representatives and senior officials of the law ministry, Election Commission and other ministries. About three lakh Urdu-speaking people live in the country. Of them, about 1.6 lakh living in 116 camps are known as stranded Pakistanis who are willing to go back to Pakistan. The Urdu-speaking people, who were born here after the independence will be registered in the voter roll. Besides, those who were between the age group of 10 and 18 during the Liberation War and showed loyalty to the country will also be included, a home ministry source said. The meeting's proposal will be sent to the law ministry for examining its legal aspects. “If the law ministry gives approval, the Urdu-speaking people, except the stranded Pakistanis who are eager to leave Bangladesh, might be included in the voter list,” the source added. -The Daily Star, September 6.

Corresponding with the Law Desk
Please send your mails, queries, and opinions to: Law Desk, The Daily Star 19 Karwan Bazar, Dhaka-1215; telephone 8124944,8124955,fax 8125155; email: dslawdesk@yahoo.co.uk,lawdesk@thedailystar.net


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