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The Financial Express
Swasti Lankabangla Swasti Lankabangla

Local dev projects: Conflict of interest as MPs involved: TIB

| Updated: August 13, 2020 09:45:50


File photo used for representational purpose File photo used for representational purpose

Local lawmakers are getting involved while being more attentive to planning and implementing infrastructure projects with block allocation in their constituencies, a latest TIB report said.

The Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) thinks conflict of interest and getting directly involved in business in the public-funded projects are barriers to ensuring accountability of the government.

Keeping this in view, the TIB put forward a nine-point recommendation like separate, impartial and full evaluation of the previously implemented projects to use these inputs in the next projects.

It suggested specifying a legal framework of projects, feasibility studies, reducing political influence in decision-making process and installing information board with detailed information on the site.

The research finds that illegal money transaction happens at a specific rate from the time of receiving work order until withdrawal of final bill and security money by vested groups.

Conflict of interest, lack of honesty and code of conduct in supervision, overall evaluation of rural infrastructure projects undertaken under constituency-based block allocation encourage institutional corruption alongside waste of public fund.

By analysing 628 schemes, the TIB finds the estimated amount of financial irregularities in each scheme varies from a minimum Tk 0.433 million to a maximum Tk 0.06 million, excluding audit commission.

The total amount of illegal money transaction in 628 schemes is from a minimum Tk 272 million to a maximum Tk 417 million, according to the report.

It was found that 86 per cent of MPs contribute to the party fund (one time) or personally with the help of their personal secretaries by collecting 1.0-2.0 per cent commission from contractors.

No one reveals anything about the irregularities in fear of a false case, legal barriers and harassment.

Programme manager of TIB research and policy department Juliet Roseti presented the findings during a virtual press conference on Wednesday.

The Bangladesh chapter of the international anti-corruption watchdog conducted the study from May 2019 till December 2019.

TIB executive director Iftekharuzzaman said lawmakers' main role is to make law, act as public representatives and ensure accountability of the government. If lawmakers get involved in public procurement and other development projects, he said, it is not possible for them to ensure government's accountability.

Conflict of interest arises when lawmakers get involved in tender business, supply and directly engaged in the projects run with the public money.

According to Mr Zaman, lawmakers think such projects are under their purview as being implemented with block allocation and expand their dominance in local areas.

They protect the corrupt with the support of local leaders and party workers and amass wealth for them.

The lawmakers of 300 constituencies got Tk 30 million for five years (2010-2015) and Tk 50 million from 2016-2020.

Fifty reserved-seat female lawmakers are not eligible for this allocation.

The ECNEC has passed a proposal to extend the IRIDP-03.

Overall, it was found that work on 32-per cent schemes could not be completed within the stipulated time and took one more year.

Supervision took place in 76 per cent schemes. The quality of only 42-per cent projects was satisfactory and 29 per cent moderately satisfactory and 30 per cent not satisfactory.

About 15-per cent schemes needed repairs and the condition is very bad in 42-per cent schemes awaiting repairs.

The research also finds 20-25 per cent work is being illegally sold to influential people of the constituencies without keeping any proof of subcontracting in official documents.

msshova@gmail.com

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