Hide and seek with minister’s resignation
The government of the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, appears to have serious problems as regards accepting resignations of ministers, no matter whether the resignation is given in protest against the violation of democratic principles or submitted under pressure from within and without the governing quarters. The government is playing hide and seek with the resignation of the information and communications technology minister, Syed Abul Hossain.
Abul Hossain, who was removed from the ministry of communications over corruption charges in the $2.9-billion Padma bridge project, resigned on July 23 after the World Bank had cancelled its $1.2-billion loan for the bridge project on allegations of ‘corruption conspiracy.’ Already three weeks into the announcement of the resignation, the government has kept the issue pending. According to a New Age report published on Sunday, the cabinet division has ‘not yet received the resignation’ let alone publishing the gazette notification on its acceptance. Besides, the web site of the Prime Minister’s Office still shows Abul Hossain as the ICT minister. Understandably, the resignation is still lying with the prime minister, who, instead of accepting it, rather observed in London on July 26 that Abul Hossain was a patriot. The statement and her subsequent silence on the issue suggest that Hasina is reluctant to keep the allegedly corrupt minister out of her cabinet.
The government did the similar thing when the state minister for home affairs, Tanjim Ahmed Sohel Taj, resigned reportedly in protest against the lack of independence to function properly. It took the man almost three years to get rid of the ministerial position and remunerations against it that he had decided to be away from. Given the couple of examples, it appears that the prime minister feels seriously uncomfortable about the idea that one, given a cabinet job by herself, should refuse to continue in the position and that she has to oust someone from the cabinet under pressure from any quarters, national or international.
Be that as it may, the delay in accepting the resignation of the former state minister for home affairs did not add to her reputation while the delay in accepting the resignation of the ICT minister was damaging her reputation. Meanwhile, as reported by a section of the media, the global hunt by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is on to trace the trail of $35 million, alleged to have been paid as kickbacks to a number of Bangladeshis by the Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin company and at least four Canada-based Bangladeshis are being investigated in connection with the scam. Some of them have reportedly left Canada. A high-profile Canadian senator, having business connection with the errant company, has abruptly resigned from the parliament after the scandal. Under the complex circumstances, it is better for the image of government, and that of the country as well, to accept the ICT minister’s resignation.
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Date:Monday, 13th August, 2012
Date:Monday, 13th August, 2012