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EC to hire accountants to audit poll expenses

EC to hire accountants to audit poll expenses

Unb, Dhaka

The Election Commission (EC) yesterday decided to appoint chartered accountants for auditing the return statements of election expenditures submitted by the candidates for the ninth parliamentary elections.

"By appointing chartered accountants we will verify the statements very soon," Election Commissioner M Sohul Hussain told reporters at his office when asked if the EC would follow up on the Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) findings.

According to the TIB report, published last Monday, some 87 percent candidates including MPs spent beyond the limit of poll expenditures during the December 29 general election.

Sohul said the EC would thoroughly scrutinize the returns on poll expenditures to find out any problems and warned that "legal action" would be taken against the candidates who did not submit the statements to the commission.

"We will check the TIN numbers and other sorts of information provided to us."

Replying to a question, he said if anybody is found guilty of submitting false statement, he or she would be disqualified for staying in his (MP) post as per strict provision of the Representation of People Order.

The election commissioner however declined to comment on the report of TIB.

Asked whether the EC would need approval for appointing the chartered accountants for scrutinizing the statements, Sohul said the election commission is an independent body and it does not need to take approval from the government for doing any good deed.

When asked about Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's decision to relinquish her position as organisational chief of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), the election commissioner said in the RPO there is no bar for her to hold any constitutional post of the BCL.

"She (Hasina) is not compelled to quit the post. Anybody can hold any post of any organization," Sohul said, adding that the student organizations cannot be affiliated with the political party.

About the Upazila Parishad Act passed by parliament on Monday, he said the commission would always honor the laws enacted by the sovereign parliament. "The law which is passed by the parliament is correct."

Sohul also informed that the pilot project on updating the voter list completed on Monday in Manikganj and the countrywide updating tasks would begin later on.