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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: 103
January 24, 2009

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Admission rules of 7 DU depts illegal
The High Court (HC) declared illegal the Dhaka University's (DU) new admission rules that disqualify madrasa students for admission to the university's seven departments.
An HC bench of justices Mir Hasmat Ali and Shamim Hasnain, however, observed that the Madrasa Education Board should consider revising its syllabus to meet the prerequisites for admission to general academic courses.
The lawyers concerned said following the HC verdict, there is no legal bar now for madrasa students having passed Aleem exams to getting admitted to the university's seven departments. The HC verdict came following a writ petition filed by five DU admission seekers including Ibrahim Khalkil, who secured GPA-5 in Aleem exams under the Madrasa Education Board. -The Daily Star, January 21, 2009.

Govt mulls MP power back in upazila
The newly elected Awami League (AL)-led alliance government is likely to modify the Local Government (Upazila Parishad) Ordinance to bestow some authority on lawmakers which the immediate-past caretaker government removed by promulgating the ordinance.
LGRD and cooperatives ministry sources say the Ordinance might be passed in parliament incorporating some roles of lawmakers in local development in the face of pressure by many MPs.
Giving the impression, LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Syed Ashraful Islam said, "The MPs should not play their role in making only laws. They have also made some pledges to the people of their constituencies." -The Daily Star, January 21, 2009.

Lies in the Truth Commission
The Truth and Accountability Commission (Tac) has allegedly allowed many graft suspects to be spared prosecution by surrendering wealth way less than what they were found to have 'amassed illegally'.
Despite wide discrepancies between findings of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) probe into assets of those accused of graft and the confessional statements made for clemency, the truth commission did not ask for ACC's views, said sources involved in the anti-graft drive. Of those listed by ACC as corruption suspects, 270 sought exemption from prosecution in return for voluntary disclosure and surrender of their ill-gotten wealth. -The Daily Star, January 20, 2009

BTTB staff gobble up Tk 52cr, reveals ACC
Employees of Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Ltd (BTCL), formerly Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB), misappropriated about Tk 52.55 crore between 2000-01 and 2007-08.
A taskforce of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) launched a probe at two BTTB revenue offices and found that the employees indulged in rampant graft by allocating money in supply and service sectors unnecessarily, making fake bills and illegal transport fares.
ACC Director General (Admin) Col Hanif Iqbal revealed the ACC findings at a press briefing at the ACC headquarters. He said the ACC investigation team worked in BTCL Revenu-1 and Revenue-2 offices from where revenue collection is organised across the country and unearthed the facts. -The Daily Star, January 20, 2009

78pc UZ contestants' tax records dubious
Around 78 percent contestants in the election to 64 upazila parishads either do not pay income tax or did not provide their tax information to the returning officers and half the contestants are or were accused in criminal cases.
Contestants' submission of income tax information to the returning officer is mandatory.
Analysing information submitted by 1,083 candidates in three upazila parishad posts of the upazilas, Shushashoner Jannoy Nagorik (Shujan--Citizens for Good Governance) in a report revealed that out of the 444 chairman candidates only 147 (33.10 percent) provided information about their tax-paying status and of them only 71 actually pay income tax. As per the information given in the affidavits, 29 candidates own properties worth over Tk 1 crore each and one of them have assets worth Tk 14.40 crore. -The Daily Star, January 20, 2009

Mosharraf's million found in UK vaults
Mosharraf and his wife Bilquis Aktar Hossain have one million pounds in a joint account with Lloyds TSB Bank in Guernsey, a Crown dependency in the English Channel, said a source here citing findings of a probe by the Proceeds of Corruption Unit of London's Metropolitan Police.
However, in a wealth statement to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Mosharraf said he and his wife have £250,000 with the Lloyds Bank. Mosharraf submitted his wealth statement to the anti-graft body in June 2007, just a month before the Met opened the money laundering investigation against him. Investigators in the UK believe the assets they have traced represent proceeds of crime and were laundered by Mosharraf and Bilquis. -The Daily Star, January 19, 2009

BNP aspirant given right voter numbers
An investigation by the Election Commission (EC) revealed that the BNP nominee in Naogaon-6 constituency in the recent parliamentary election had been provided with the flawless result sheet of Gahelapur High School polling station showing no sign of vote rigging there.
The investigation was sparked by BNP's recent public accusation of not only vote rigging in that polling station, but also of such a shoddy rigging that the total number of votes cast in that station came out to be more than the total number of voters of that centre.
The presiding officer of the centre mentioned in the correct result sheet the accurate number of total voters to be 4,091, of whom 3,845 cast their votes. -The Daily Star, January 19, 2009

Canadian cops open probe into scandal
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is looking into allegations that Calgary-based energy company Niko Resources Ltd or its subsidiary made improper payments to public officials in Bangladesh to bag a joint venture deal with Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration Company (Bapex) to develop three marginal gas fields.
The Canadian press reported that Niko authorities had confirmed rumours that a RCMP probe was underway.
Murray Hesje, Niko's chief financial officer, said, "They were simply willing to confirm that yes, there was an investigation under way and they were willing to name the country that was involved, being Bangladesh. But they provided no additional details to us," he said. Niko said it would co-operate fully with the corruption probe. -The Daily Star, January 18, 2009.

UN-run school struck in Gaza
Palestinian civilians and medics run to safety during an Israeli strike over a UN school in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza Strip. Israel pummelled Gaza with new strikes destroying 50 targets, including a UN-run school sheltering hundreds of refuges in the north, hours before an expected unilateral halt to a 22-day war on Hamas.
The Israeli security cabinet was to convene later on Saturday to consider ordering a halt to its offensive, which has killed more than 1,200 Palestinians and left much of Gaza in ruins. But even before any official announcement, Hamas said they would not be laying down their arms as Israel still planned to keep its troops in Gaza.
"This unilateral ceasefire does not foresee a withdrawal" by the Israeli army, Osama Hemdan, the movement's Lebanon representative, told AFP. "As long as it remains in Gaza, resistance and confrontation will continue." -The Daily Star, January 18, 2009.

Unfair practices, neglect cost TeleTalk Tk 200cr
A task force probe found that Bangladesh Telephone and Telegraph Board's (BTTB's) mobile phone project TeleTalk incurred losses of over Tk 200 crore due to implementation delay, and blamed it on unfair practices and negligence of the then telecom minister and eight high officials of the BTTB.
Implementation period of the project was 2002 to 2004 but it ended in July 2008.
A bribery involving Arafat Rahman Koko, son of former prime minister Khaleda Zia, concerning the project had come to light earlier as foreign investigators probed Germany-based industrial giant Siemens' global bribery scandal to get projects in different countries. -The Daily Star, January 17, 2009.

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: [email protected],[email protected]


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