Tuesday, 23rd July, 2024

Govt employees must submit wealth statements

Friday, 05 July 2024 | 8:30 am | 16 times

Govt employees must submit wealth statements
The government is updating the rules to ensure that government employees submit wealth statements in addition to filing income tax returns.

After a secretarial meeting at the cabinet meeting room on Thursday, Cabinet Secretary Mahbub Hossain told reporters that the rules to ensure that government employees submit their wealth statements regularly will be finalised soon by updating the “Government Servants (Conduct) Rules, 1979”.

Earlier, the Ministry of Public Administration took an initiative to amend the “Government Servants (Conduct) Rules, 1979” to allow the government employees not to submit statements about their assets except filing income tax returns every year.

The rules have not been finalised yet, but some government officials have already stopped submitting their wealth statements, said sources.

The provision of submitting wealth statements will be retained in the draft of the new Government Servants (Conduct) Rules.

According to the draft, “Every government servant shall, on joining service, furnish a declaration of all movable and immovable property convertible into cash, including share certificates, securities, insurance policies and ornaments, owned or held by him and his family members, in the prescribed form from time to time.”

The government has taken the initiative to update the Government Servants (Conduct) Rules after the financial irregularities and corruption of some retired government officials came to light.

On 2 July, the High Court asked authorities concerned to ensure the accounting of the assets of government employees and their families by implementing the 1979 rules.

According to the Government Servants (Conduct) Rules, 1979, the government employees have to submit asset statements every five years and obtain permission to acquire or sell immovable property.

After the secretarial meeting, Mahbub Hossain said they discussed the progress of updating the Government Servants Conduct Rule of 1979.

Asked if there was any discussion at the meeting about the corruption of government officials, Mahbub said, “No, we did not discuss anything specific. We will not discuss such matters with so many secretaries. We will not discuss the misdeeds of one or two people or any particular complaint after calling so many secretaries. It is a very normal thing.”

The Government Servants (Conduct) Rules 1979 states that every government employee have to declare at the time of entry into service all the movable and immovable properties including shares, certificates, securities, insurance policies, ornaments, and anything  valued at Tk50,000 or more owned or held by him or his family members.

Every government employee has to submit to the government through the appropriate authority the statement of decrease and increase of assets shown in the statement of accounts every five years.

The cabinet secretary said in the first secretary meeting of this year, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave instructions to hold secretary meetings at least twice a year. That is why they held the meeting on Thursday.

About the topics discussed in the meeting, Mahbub said, “In today’s (Thursday’s) meeting, we mainly discussed the progress of the implementation of decisions taken in the previous meeting. We discussed some issues of integrity. We discussed the implementation of the budget and the election manifesto.”

Besides, it has been recommended that the instructions given by the prime minister from time to time regarding official works should be followed carefully and seriously.

Asked about the discussion on integrity in the meeting, the cabinet secretary said, “We have discussed that almost 12 years have passed since the National Integrity Strategy was adopted. We are thinking of updating it now.”

“We have talked about transparency in budget implementation. We said the subordinate offices should provide services to people properly. Besides, work should be strictly monitored. If people have any complaints, they should be taken seriously,” he said.

The previous secretary meeting was held on 5 February in the presence of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

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