Bangladesh candidates spent three times more than poll limits

April 7th, 2009 - 12:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, April 7 (IANS) Candidates in Bangladesh’s parliamentary poll spent three times more than the limits imposed by the Election Commission, says Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB).
Candidates spent an average of over Tk 4.4 million ($63,000 approximately), flouting the Election Commission poll expenditure limit of Tk 1.5 million ($21,000) for each candidate, TIB has said in its report released Monday.

At least 87 percent of the 300 candidates who won last December’s poll from out of the 1,500-plus contenders spent beyond the limit, TIB researcher Shadhan Kumar Das said.

The findings contradict the mandatory poll expenditure statements submitted to the Election Commission by the winners of the Awami League (AL) that won 230 seats, Jatiya Party (27 seats), Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) that won two seats each, The Daily Star reported.

Candidates of the cash-rich JeI, widely perceived as getting its funds from West Asia, spent an average of Tk 7.4 million, the BNP nominees spent Tk 4.49 million and the AL nominees spent Tk 4 million.

“The EC must audit the electoral expenditures of the candidates and punish the violators according to the law,” said Muzaffer Ahmad, chairperson of the TIB.

According to the TIB, the national chapter of an international NGO, the highest spending by a single candidate was Tk 28 million while the lowest was Tk 434,000.

Eleven surveyed candidates, who won the polls, spent within the Election Commission set limit. Six were AL candidates, four were BNP nominees and one was an independent. TIB did not disclose their names.

Fifty-five percent of the 88 surveyed candidates had criminal cases against them while 50 percent of them were still facing such cases.

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