Strip Sircar of MP status | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 06, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, May 06, 2009

Corruption In Sangsad

Strip Sircar of MP status

JS probe body also recommends criminal cases against Akhtar Hamid, Delwar


A parliamentary sub-committee, probing alleged corruption of former speaker Jamiruddin Sircar, yesterday recommended revocation of his membership in the parliament for 'massive financial graft involving moral turpitude'.
The sub-committee also recommended filing of criminal cases against former deputy speaker Akhtar Hamid Siddiqui, and former chief whip Khandaker Delwar Hossain for misappropriation of public money.
The all-party main probe committee decided yesterday to summon the accused three before it, for giving them a chance to defend themselves.
The sub-committee in its report submitted to the all-party parent committee, also recommended recovering Tk 27.86 lakh from Sircar, Tk 6 lakh from Delwar and Tk 1.21 lakh from Akhtar since they 'illegally' took the money as medical bills, sources said quoting from the recommendations.
The then prime minister, Khaleda Zia, did not approve the medical bills, instead Sircar himself cleared the medical bills of his own and Delwar, ignoring financial rules and medical attendance rules, the sub-committee found in its investigation.
The sub-committee said former deputy speaker Akhtar Hamid Siddiqui visited London and Moscow from January 1 to 16 last year, and submitted a medical bill of Tk 1.21 lakh on returning home, and withdrew the money. "It's cheating," said the probe body.
Sircar, Akhtar and Delwar, none of them carried with them necessary foreign currencies to meet their medical expenditures, it said.
No medical board made any recommendation for Delwar's medical treatment abroad, who is now the BNP secretary general, said the probe report.
"They cleared their medical bills in foreign currencies unlawfully. After medical treatment, they took the money from the Parliament Secretariat. They committed offences, which are punishable under the money laundering act," the sub-committee said, suggesting taking of actions against the accused under the money laundering act.
Talking to The Daily Star on Monday, Awami League lawmaker Brig Gen (retd) SK Abu Bakr, who is also the chief of the sub-committee, said the accused carried Bangladeshi currencies with them, but they cleared their medical bills in dollars. "It's an offence under the money laundering act," Bakr said.
Former speaker Sircar wasted public money by clearing all medical bills unlawfully and by abusing his power, and it is a massive corruption, the report added.
The accused three however gave undertakings that they will return the money if it is found that they had no entitlement to the money.
The sub-committee also accused Sircar, Akhtar and Delwar of contempt of the parliament, and recommended taking actions against them, as they defied the committee's written request to submit their passports to it.
"We will sit on May 14 to fix the date for summoning them before the committee," Advocate Fazle Rabbi Mia, chief of the main all-party probe committee, told reporters emerging from a committee meeting in the parliament building yesterday.
"We will give them scopes to defend themselves. We don't want to take any decision before hearing them out," Rabbi said.
Another parliamentary sub-committee led by Jatiya Party lawmaker Mujib-ul-Haque also submitted its probe report on recruitment of 256 staffs for the Parliament Secretariat. The sub-committee found that the former speaker appointed them violating relevant laws, committee sources said.
The all-party main committee however did not disclose the findings of the report and decided to discuss those at the next meeting.
It also decided to summon six senior officials to its next meeting on May 14, who were involved in the recruitment process during the tenure of the immediate past speaker Sircar.
Another sub-committee led by AL lawmaker Shajahan Khan, probing alleged corruption in procurement and spending for arboriculture, will submit its report at the next meeting, Rabbi said.
That sub-committee already brought allegations of misappropriation of around Tk 2 crore in the name of arboriculture.
Formed by Speaker Abdul Hamid in the inaugural session of the ninth parliament, the all-party main probe committee began probing the alleged corruption of Sircar, who was the speaker for the last seven years; and formed three sub-committees to expedite the investigation.
After discussing the findings of the sub-committees, the main committee will submit its report to the House in its next session, which will begin in early June.
The probe bodies already disclosed widespread allegation of corruption. According to the information disclosed by the probe bodies, Sircar took Tk 12 lakh to purchase furniture for his official residence, ignoring rules that allow him to spend only Tk 1.5 lakh.
And the Parliament Secretariat could not even find most of the furniture following the former speaker's departure from the official residence.
Sircar, who had failed to win any seat in the parliament through the December 29, 2008 general election and later managed to win one through the by-election on April 2, had spent Tk 27 lakh to buy stationery for the parliament in FY 2007-'08, although the parliament did not exist during that period.
He spent Tk 5.51 lakh in entertainment purposes in only three months of FY 2006-'07. He also received Tk 1 lakh every year for arboriculture in his official residence.
The probe disclosures also said Delwar took away government properties that had been given to him for use during his stay at the Nam flats as an MP during the last parliament. The items he took away include a number of furniture.

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