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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: 39
October 6, 2007

This week's issue:
Star Law Analysis
Human Rights Advocacy
Rights Investigation
Law Vision
Law Event
Law Week

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Law week

HC stalls FBCCI polls for 3 weeks
The High Court (HC) halted election process of the country's apex trade body, Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), for three weeks. The HC also ordered the FBCCI Electoral Arbitration Council to explain within next three weeks as to why dropping of five voters of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) from the final voter list would not be declared illegal.
An HC bench comprising Justice Shahid Mahmud Hossain and Justice Farid Ahmed passed the order following a writ petition filed by two aggrieved BGMEA voters-- Mohammad A Salam, BGMEA acting president, and Annisul Huq, a former president of the association. The other voters made ineligible are Faisal Samad, ABM Shamsuddin and Ferdous Parvez Bivon. The arbitration council dropped their names on September 25 from the final voter list of the upcoming FBCCI election following a complaint from Mahbub Minhaz, a garment businessman. Barrister Rafiqul Haque and Barrister Rokanuddin Mahmud appeared for the petitioners while Barrister Ajmal Hossain stood for the defendant. -The Daily Star, October 1.

Probe into institutional graft from December
The Anti-corruption Commission (ACC) is likely to file more cases against graft suspects as it has readied 79 more first information reports (FIR) while primary investigations of more than 100 allegations against different corruption suspects are also on. ACC Chairman Lt Gen (retd) Hasan Mashhud Chowdhury told journalists that the commission's activities will assume a new dimension by the end of December this year as it is likely to initiate investigations of institutional corruption. Meanwhile, four former secretaries testified before the ACC in connection with a case filed against former premier Khaleda Zia, her younger son Arafat Rahman Koko, and 11 others, for allegedly awarding contracts for container handling in Chittagong and Dhaka inland container yards to Global Agro Trade (Pvt) Co Ltd (Gatco), despite its lacking in required qualifications. "A massive work is in the pipeline now as we have prepared 79 FIRs, and charge sheets against seven persons will be submitted soon. Investigations are on in 45 cases while the commission now has 26 cases pending with the court," said the ACC chairman during a routine news briefing in the commission's head office. The chairman said primary inquiries of 101 allegations of corruption are also on. - The Daily Star, October 2.

Selling of 18 houses
4 former, serving secretaries sent to jail
A Dhaka court sent three former and present secretaries of different ministries and a former Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) director to jail after they surrendered before the court in connection with a graft case regarding the selling of 18 abandoned government houses. The case was filed on May 29 in connection with the selling of houses at a low price that caused Tk 127.64 crore loss to the government coffer. Meanwhile, the Anti-corruption Commission (ACC) pressed charges against detained BNP leader Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury, parliamentary affairs adviser to former prime minister Khaleda Zia, her assignment officer Firoz Mahmud Iqbal and five former high officials of Oriental Bank Ltd in three corruption cases. - The Daily Star, October 2.

ACC appeals to SC against bail to Khaleda
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) moved to the Supreme Court seeking stay of bail granted by the High Court to former prime minister Khaleda Zia in GATCO graft case. The appellate division is likely to take up the petition for hearing. The petition also sought to overturn the High Court order that stayed the proceedings of GATCO graft case. The case filed by ACC with Tejgaon Police Station on September 2 against Khaleda Zia, her younger son Arafat Rahman Koko and 11 others for involving in the scam, resulting in Tk 1,000 crore loss to the national exchequer. Khaleda in a writ had challenged invoking the Emergency Powers Rule in the case debarring her seeking bail from the court. The High Court granted bail to Khaleda and also stayed proceedings of the GATCO scam case. The court had also issued a rule upon the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) to explain why the case placing under the Emergency Power Rule should not be declared illegal. - Unb, Dhaka, October2.

Gatco case
ACC to quiz 2 detained ministers
A three-member investigation team of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) will quiz detained former health minister Khandaker Mosharaf Hossain and former state minister for energy AKM Mosharraf Hossain in connection with the container handling case against Khaleda Zia. Sources said the team will quiz both the former ministers separately at Dhaka Central Jail gate. Members of the investigation team include investigation officer of the case ACC Deputy Director Jahirul Huda, officer of the Taskforce-23 Major Mostafa Kamal and CID Inspector of Taskforce-23 Nurul Islam. The two former ministers were the members of the purchase committee that approved the awarding of a contract to GATCO, a private company. The Anti-Corruption Commission has already questioned former five ministers, six retired secretaries and one serving additional secretary of the communications ministry. -Unb, Dhaka, October 3.

Emergency should be lifted before local body polls: CEC
Emergency should be lifted at least two months before the polls from places where election will be held, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) ATM Shamsul Huda said. EC has proposed for holding election to the city corporations where it is due from early next year. Huda said emergency is required to be lifted from areas where local body election will be held to facilitate the electoral campaign by the candidates. "What I visualise that I don't expect much that the government will lift emergency from across the country," Huda told reporters when asked to clarify his earlier statement that emergency should continue until the general election. He said the election will be scheduled in way keeping more than a month between announcement of the schedule and polling day. So, the emergency should be lifted at least two months before holding the election. But emergency should go from across the country before the national election.
"I told that emergency will go wherever the elections will be held. Because elections couldn't be held under the sate of emergency," CEC said refuting media reports that quoted him as saying in Tangail that emergency is needed until the general election. -Unb, Dhaka, October 3.

Money laundering
Govt mulls treaty with UK to get back money
In an effort to recover the money siphoned offshore from the country, the interim government is planning to sign a treaty with the British government for getting assistance from New Scotland Yard. Popularly known as The Yard, the British law enforcing agency is responsible for policing the Greater London area as well as for helping other countries in investigating criminal offences. Anti-corruption Commission (ACC) Secretary Mukhles Ur Rahman told the Daily Star about the plan. "We are working to strike a deal with the Scotland Yard for recovering the money smuggled off from the country," said the ACC secretary adding that an agreement must be signed between the two countries for the cooperation to take place. The ACC secretary also said before signing the treaty the Bangladesh government needs to promulgate some laws giving the specific bilateral relation legality for getting regular assistance in the future. "A dialogue is on regarding various strategic issues as the matter is between two states. It is also necessary to give the effort legality to yield long-term results from such a treaty," said the ACC secretary. - The Daily Star, October 3.

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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