AL rather hired lobbyists abroad using people’s money to hide repression at home: BNP
Turning down the allegation of hiring any lobbyist in the USA, BNP today categorically said it is Awami League that spent huge public money by appointing lobbyists abroad to hush up its "misdeeds and repressive acts".
Addressing a press conference, BNP standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain demanded a transparent investigation to dig out how much money of taxpayers have been spent on lobbying firms by the ruling party and its sources.
BNP standing committee arranged the press conference at BNP Chairperson's Gulshan office to give the party's formal reaction to the government's allegation of recruiting lobbyists abroad to campaign against Bangladesh.
Mosharraf said State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam claimed that they never appointed any lobbyist but engaged a PR company purely on the media front in 2015. "But the evidence doesn't support it."
On behalf of US chapter Awami League, he said Sajeeb Wazed Joy hired Alcalde & Fay lobbyist firm in the United States on November 29, 2004 with effect from January 1, 2005.
As a signatory to the contract, the BNP leader said he (Joy) paid $12.5 lakh, $30,000 each month, to the lobbyist firm in between 2005 and 2007.
"This is a bad luck of people that this illegal repressive regime has been spending the money of oppressed people on lobbyist firms to cover up the crimes it has committed by resorting to brutal repression, killing, enforced disappearance and snatching human and democratic rights," he said.
Mosharraf said it is necessary to present a report before people on how much money the public have been spent in the name of engaging lobbyists.
The BNP leader also presented some documents on Sajeeb Wazed Joy's agreement with two US firms Alcade & Fay and Friedlander.
He said Joy has been working with another lobbyist firm, BGR, on a regular basis for many years. "Friedlander, another lobbyist firm, was hired in September last year for a fee of 40,000 for a month to arrange a high-level meeting and exchange visits between the two countries. "If you go to dig worms in this regard, bigger snakes will come out."
On Tuesday, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam alleged that BNP spent at least US$ 3.75 million on lobbyists to campaign against Bangladesh, and he shared relevant documents with the media which are also available in the public domain.
He also claimed that the Awami League government never appointed any lobbyist in its last three tenures but engaged a company purely on the media front in 2015 to help the world know Bangladesh based on facts and counter-propaganda against the country and its people.