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Wealth statements for public servants must

Draft to be placed at secretary committee meeting today

Published : 30 May 2022 09:47 PM

The draft amendment to the Government Servants (Conduct) Rules 1979 will finally be placed in the meeting of the Secretary Committee today (Tuesday), sources said. 

Although several attempts had been made for government officials and employees to submit their wealth statement mandatorily, it has not been implemented.

The Ministry of Public Administration has taken initiative to amend the rules. A draft amendment to the rules is going to be taken up at a meeting of the Secretary Committee on Administrative Development to be held under the chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary Khandaker Anwarul Islam. 

It has been proposed to make it compulsory for government employees to account for their assets. In addition, there are restrictions on the use of social media in the proposed amendment, say news related sources. 

It is learned that according to the amendment proposal, if the rules are passed in the meeting of the secretaries, the government employees will not be able to make any excuse regarding giving the account of their property. Even if income tax returns are submitted every year, it will be mandatory to report the assets to the designated department of the government. 

If the ‘Government Servants (Conduct) Rules-2022’ gets final approval, it will be under the Public Service Act. Through this, the issue of accountability for assets will get legal form. 

According to the draft of the amended rules, even if the assets are reported to the National Board of Revenue (NBR), the regulatory authority for government employees has to report the asset details separately. In this case, by filling the table prescribed by the government, it has to be submitted by the appropriate authority within five years by December. 

Income tax returns can be submitted only if there are no other assets of an official or employee. Gazettes will inform which department will be the appropriate authority to submit the account of assets. The existing rules provide for the submission of assets every five years but do not specify to which department to submit the report, and within which month. 

At the same time, no officer-employee can engage in business in the area under his jurisdiction without the approval of his family members.

Currently, there are over 15 lakh government officials and employees in the country. The government servants give details in their wealth statements when they join service. But after joining the job, they completely neglect submitting details on any increase or decrease in their wealth making various excuses. 

A large number of dishonest government officials and employees from central to grassroots levels have been indulging in corruption, irregularities and other unethical activities in order to loot public money since long as there were no mandatory rules.  

One of the basic objectives of the election manifesto of Awami League was ‘zero tolerance policy’ against misdeeds and corruption to establish rule of law and good governance.  

Ministry of Public Administration Additional Secretary Abul Kashem Mohiuddin informed the media that amendments have been proposed on some necessary issues including details of assets and use of social media. If the rules are amended, government employees will get a clear idea on these issues.

An official of the cabinet department said that after getting the account of the assets of a large number of government employees, there should be a system to check the assets of the suspicious employees. If not, the situation will remain the same. No matter how much the rules are amended, it will not work in the public interest if it cannot create an example of punishment.