Probe into graft charges against former Bangladesh speaker

March 20th, 2009 - 11:42 am ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, March 20 (IANS) The first-ever probe into the financial dealings of Bangladesh’s parliament secretariat will be conducted by an 11-member all-party committee constituted by Speaker Abdul Hamid. The body will look into allegations of financial anomalies, misuse of power and wastage of public money against previous speaker Jamiruddin Sircar.
Sircar was the speaker from Oct 28, 2001 to Jan 25, 2009. He was mired in controversy over allegations of corruption in recruitment and procurement for the parliament secretariat and unlawfully taking a huge amount of money against medical bills, The Daily Star reported.

The entire period since 1972, when the secretariat came into being on Bangladesh achieving independence, would be under scrutiny, Hamid announced Thursday.

It includes Hamid’s own brief tenure of three and a half months.

“I willingly put myself under the jurisdiction of the parliamentary body,” the speaker said.

He also informed the House that the comptroller and auditor general (CAG) would soon send a special team to audit all expenditures of the parliament secretariat since 1972.

The parliamentary probe body was asked to submit its report within a month. Findings of the audit report will also be placed before the House.

“Ensuring transparency and accountability of the government is one of the tasks of parliament. To achieve this goal, the parliament secretariat must be kept away from corruption,” Hamid said.

Sircar, who lost the election last December and is contesting a by-election, said at a press conference that the treasury bench lawmakers raised the allegations against him to destroy his image and thus benefit his opponent Awami League candidate in the by-poll.

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