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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: 85
September 13 , 2008

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Govt mulls ethical society to curb graft
The government is considering introducing a 'national integrity strategy' (NIS) in a bid to create an ethical society to back up its drives against rampant corruption. The government aims at achieving the goal through 'rebuilding integrity' in every segment of the society including public, private and political sectors. Though the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is responsible to prosecute the corrupt, policymakers of the present government believe it's impossible to fight graft only by ACC through prosecution, say sources involved in formulation of NIS.

“So the government has taken initiatives to formulate NIS to combat corruption through moral-based approach to complement the ACC's functions,” says a source. Explaining the perspective of coming up with a new idea, another source argues: “Ineffective formal control and lack of social and citizen-oriented anti-corruption accountability mechanisms have added to what could be termed a crisis of integrity.”

“This calls for a longer-term change process with a strong reform regime that would sit at the core of the good governance agenda of the government,” the source adds. -The Daily Star, September 09, 2008.

8 more govt staff confess to graft
Eight more government servicemen, including two Titas Gas officials and an executive engineer of Bangladesh Inland Water Transportation Authority (BIWTA), confessed to having ill-gotten wealth worth Tk 2.57 crore before the Truth and Accountability Commission (Tac).

With their disclosure, 31 persons have so far disclosed information about their ill-gotten wealth before the Tac. Except for a textile businessman, all of them are government officials. The five other government officials who confessed their illegal wealth are two district registrars and three sub-registrars. Meanwhile, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) sent another list of seven corruption suspects, including a Roads and Highways Department engineer, following their applications to face the Tac. -The Daily Star, September 08, 2008.

Govt to ban 18 armed groups
The government is planning to officially ban 18 splinter groupings of clandestine armed communists soon, as law enforcing agencies identified them as organisations engaged in anti-state activities in 13 north-west and southern districts. According to top officials of police and Rapid Action Battalion (Rab), the decision is being taken for the first time since the independence of the country, with an aim to eradicating such organisations before the next parliamentary election. Responding to recommendations of different intelligence agencies, the police headquarters in early August sent a proposal to the home ministry for banning the outfits, sources said.

Once the outfits are banned, they will hardly get any chance of slipping through legal loopholes, which has been common so far, as the new rules will be tougher, the home adviser said. The government already banned Islamist militant outfits Shahadat-e Al Hikma, Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh, Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh, and Harkatul Jihad Al Islami. -The Daily Star, September 08, 2008.

EC to seek easing of emergency further
The Election Commission (EC) said it will ask the caretaker government to relax the state of emergency allowing political parties to hold national councils for amending their constitutions ahead of the parliamentary poll. The EC made the promise to Jatiya Party (JP-Ershad) on the first day of its third round of electoral talks with the parties.

The criteria for parliamentary parties' mandatory registration with the commission, set by the new electoral law, demand the amendments to the constitutions. Emerging from their talk with the commission, JP leaders disclosed the EC's promise and said their party agreed with all criteria for registration, except one that demands poll candidates must be nominated from panels prepared by grassroots level leaders.

The provision was laid down in the amended Representation of People's Order (RPO) in a bid to stop nomination business of political parties during parliamentary polls. If the criterion is relaxed, central parliamentary boards of the parties will be able to nominate candidates from outside the panels prepared by grassroots level leaders. -The Daily Star, September 07, 2008.

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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