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Poll expenses of candidates were much higher than limit: TIB

Poll expenses of candidates were much higher than limit: TIB     

FE Report

The candidates who participated in the ninth parliamentary election spent about Tk 3.0 million each on an average in excess of the expenditure limit set by electoral laws, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) said Monday.

According to a TIB survey, a candidate on an average spent about Tk 4.4 million since the last day for withdrawal of nomination to the election day although electorate rules allowed a candidate to spend maximum Tk 1.5 million.

This was disclosed at a press conference organised by TIB at the National Press Club in the city on the occasion of publishing the final report of the survey on the process of ninth national election held in December 2008.

Meanwhile, TIB trustee board Chairman Muzaffer Ahmed demanded auditing of the election spending of the candidates, which they mentioned in their affidavits to justify their claims.

He said the auditing will ensure establishment of transparency in the election expenses as well as help the law enforcers to take legal action against any mis-declaration by the candidates.

The survey was conducted to examine to which extent the candidates who competed in the election followed electoral laws and code of conduct, particularly during the period from the finalisation of nomination to the election day. It also comparatively analysed the spending claims of the candidates, which they mentioned in their affidavits to the Election Commission (EC), with their actual expenditure.

TIB Senior Research Officer Shahzada M Akram and Research Officer Sadhan Kumar Das conducted the survey. Sadhan Kumar Das presented the report.

According to the survey, the highest spending by a candidate was Tk 28.10 million and the lowest was Tk 43,4,000.

Seventy-seven out of 88 candidates from 44 constituencies who participated in the survey spent more than the electoral laws allowed, it said.

Party-wise candidate spending assessment, according to the survey, shows that candidates of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh and Jatiya Party on an average spent Tk 5.0 million where candidates of Awami League (AL) spent about Tk 3.5 million.

Only 11 candidates including six from AL, four from BNP and one independent candidate spent within the limit, it said.

The candidates mostly spent on public campaign, which was on an average Tk 1.8 million.

But the affidavit figures differ with the TIB findings. The assessment of affidavits by researchers show that the average poll spending was about Tk 1 million and the highest and the lowest spending by any candidate was Tk 1.499 million and Tk 45,000 respectively.

Published in 7 April, 2009 in Financial Express