Ministers, MPs lobbying for public service recruitment

Awami league

“The candidate is an active worker of the ruling Awami League. He was a committed vice president of the party’s student wing Chhatra League from his school life.” “He is the son of an Awami family in my constituency. All of the members of the family are lifetime supports of the Awami League.” “All of them are sons of an Awami League family.” “The candidate is personally known to me.”

These remarks were made by ministers and MPs in recommendation letters written on their official letterhead, for recruitment of candidates in the police and the fire service.

Influential leaders of the ruling party have sent their recommendations through Demi Official (DO) letters to the home ministry. They are also making phone calls to lobby for the candidate of their choice.

Experts have expressed their disapproval at such recommendations made by ministers and MPs, terming this a crime.

Local government, rural development and cooperatives minister Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, signed one such DO letter. In his recommendation letter, he said, “The candidate is an active AL worker. His family members are workers of Jubo League, the youth front of the AL. The candidate is a follower of Bangabandhu and is personally known to me.”

The minister further said, “I am strongly recommending him for the job as the present government has pledged to ensure jobs for each family in the country.”

The minister, however, denied that he issued any such letter.

“Putting forth DO letter for recommending anyone for jobs is a crime and I have made no such recommendations. It might be a fake DO letter. The person who did it will be arrested,” the minister told Prothom Alo.

Textiles and jute minister Md. Emaj Uddin Pramanik alone issued DO letters for 24 candidates. He recommended these 24 candidates for the post of sub-inspector of police.

Despite repeated attempts, it was not possible to contact the minister for his comments on the issue. He did not respond to messages sent to his cell phone either.

Member of the parliamentary standing committee on the ministry of posts, telecommunications, science and technology Shawkat Hachanur Rahman wrote of a candidate in a recommendation letter, “He has served sincerely as the vice president of Ramna Union Chhatra League since his school life. He is the son of an Awami family in my constituency. All of the members of the family are lifetime supporters of the AL.”

“Therefore,” he added, “I am requesting for him to be recruited to the post of SI in the police.”

The state minister for post, telecommunication and ICT, Zunaid Ahmed Palak, has recommended four candidates from Natore to the posts of firemen in the fire service and civil defence.

In his recommendation, he said. “All of them sons of AL families.”

When contacted, the state minister denied that he ever made such recommendations. “Instructions have been given for issuing ‘character certificates’ only and I usually do so,” he said.

Shipping minister Shajahan Khan recommended a candidate from Madaripur to the post of fireman in the fire service.

When his attention was drawn to the recommendation, he said, “I just have made a recommendation for consideration.”

Earlier, health minister Mohammad Nasim issued a DO letter for final recruitments to the post of police sergeant.

Chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on the ministry of public administration HN Ashiqur Rahman, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on the planning ministry Abul Kalam Azad, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on the agriculture ministry Makbul Hossain, MP from a constituency in Bhola Nurunnabi Chowdhury, MP from Noakhali HM Ibrahim, MP from Chapainawabganj Abdul Adud, MP from Chittagong M Abdul Latif, another MP from Noakhali Mamunur Rashid and member of the parliamentary standing committee on the land ministry AKM Maidul Islam also sent names recommending candidates of their choice.

Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told Prothom Alo that his ministry also received such DO letters.

The minister said, “Anyone can recommend their candidates, but we cannot go beyond the law.”

Earlier, social welfare minister Syed Mohsin Ali had forwarded a list of 55 candidates from Moulvibazar, recommending them for the posts of police constable and many from the list have got the jobs.

Before that, 37 workers of the Chhatra League, the student wing of the ruling AL, were appointed to the post of deputy assistant director at the National Security Intelligence. Allegations have it that political considerations overpowered merit in recruiting them.

When contacted, former caretaker government adviser Akbar Ali Khan, also a former cabinet secretary, said a minister or a people’s representative can in no way make recommendations for public service jobs.

“It is a clear irregularity. No law stipulates forwarding such recommendations. Public servants should be recruited on the basis of merit,” he added.

On condition anonymity, two former inspectors general of police (IGPs) said making recommendations by the ministers and MPs for the public service is unfortunate.

They said any recruitment made outside of the rules is completely illegal and unethical and it would encourage corruption.

“The chain of command in the public service will break down if the recruitments are not made transparently on the basis of merit,” they said.

Source: Prothom Alo