A complaint has been lodged with the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) against the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), other election commissioners, former and current EC secretaries and several other EC officials for embezzling money by issuing fake bill vouchers under the guise of training.
Ten Supreme Court lawyers filed the complaint, demanding action against the EC officials involved after a thorough investigation.
On behalf of the ten, Lawyer Md Shishir Monir confirmed the news. The other lawyers are Asad Uddin, Mujahidul Islam, Jubayedur Rahman, Abdus Sabur Dewan, Al Reza Md Amir, Abdullah Hill Maruf Fahim, GM Mujahidur Rahman, Mustafizur Rahman and Zahirul Islam.
According to the complaint, under the guise of training, the Election Commission (EC) spent Tk7,47,57,000 prior to the eleventh parliamentary election and the fifth upazila election. In the training, allowances in the name of 'special speaker', 'course director' and 'course advisor' were allotted for EC officials, and allotted allowances were changed by switching sectors.
But the finance ministry never granted approval to spend this money in the name of training allowances, violating Election Commission policy.
The audit department also objected to the purchase of meals during the training at a cost of Tk37.53 lakh, and fake bill vouchers showing Tk10.03 lakh. The ten lawyers also complained that the audit of the expenditure of Tk6.66 lakh for car repair had not been settled.
A copy of a media report was attached to the complaint.
No one from the ACC agreed to comment on the allegations.
The alleged misconduct of the EC officials, including the CEC, have been the subject of long-running criticism.
In a written petition to the President on December 14, 42 prominent citizens of the country demanded action against the current EC headed by KM Nurul Huda, alleging serious misconduct, financial corruption and irregularities, through the formation of the Supreme Judicial Council.
The allegations leveled against the EC by these prominent citizens include financial misconduct and irregularities amounting to Tk2 crore under the guise of giving speeches as special speakers; misconduct and irregularities amounting to Tk4.08 lakh in the recruitment process of EC employees; financial misconduct committed through illegal use of three vehicles by three commissioners.
In addition to this, there were allegations of irregularities in the purchase and use of Electronic Voting Machines, and misconduct during the Eleventh Parliamentary Election and the City Corporation elections.
One week after the petition to the president was submitted, Election Commissioner Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury told a news conference that he did not believe that the allegations levelled by prominent citizens against the EC had any basis in fact. He also claimed that the charges may have been politically motivated.
Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury said the current commission is trying its level best to hold free and fair elections.