Thursday, October 15, 2009
As managing director of Ena Properties, Awami League lawmaker M Enamul Haque yesterday singed an agreement with the Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC) for construction of a 16-storey building in the city, ignoring the electoral laws.
The Representation of the People Order (RPO) does not allow the ruling party lawmaker and his developer firm to have the contract for construction of the City Centre.
According to the RPO, a lawmaker may be disqualified from remaining an MP if he ignores the RPO provision that bars him from being engaged with any work for the supply of goods to, or for the execution of any contract or the performance of any services undertaken by government.
But neither the ruling party lawmaker nor the RCC bothered about the RPO to sign the agreement for the construction.
Under the deal, the MP's real estate company will fund and construct the City Centre on 24 kathas of the RCC land spending around Tk 40 crore raising total space of the building to 12,220 square metres in three years.
The City Centre will be built after demolishing the old City Bhaban in the city.
When contacted Enamul Haque told The Daily Star that he was fully aware of the RPO Clause 12(1) (K) and there is no problem in signing the contract.
"We read it (RPO) and also consulted with senior lawyers in Dhaka. We found that the RPO does not affect the deal in anyway."
"The rule was for considering eligibility of participating in the election, not for barring MPs from doing business," Enamul, also chief executive officer of Ena Properties, said.
Citing the RPO provision, eminent jurist Shahdeen Malik yesterday told The Daily Star that a developer firm owned by a lawmaker can not have the work for the construction of the City Centre.
The RPO provision says a person shall be disqualified for election as or for being a member of parliament if he whether by himself or by any person or body of persons in trust for him or for his benefit or on his account or as a member of a Hindu undivided family, has any share or interest in a contract, not been a contract between a co-operative society and government, for the supply of goods to, or for the execution of any contract or the performance of any services undertaken by government.
MP from Rajshahi-4 (Bagmara) constituency Enamul Haque signed the deal with RCC Mayor AHM Khairuzzman Liton at a function at the old City Bhaban with RCC Secretary KM Abdus Salam in the chair.
After the signing, Mayor Liton and MP Enamul jointly laid foundation of the City Centre.
In a general meeting in September, the RCC announced that Ena Properties won the City Centre work under the Private Public Partnership (PPP) projects through a tender process.
However, no other real estate companies participated in the bidding process. This made the way for the Ena Properties that had been planning the City Centre and circulating a three-dimensional video of the proposed building since November 2008. Finally, ministries concerned approved the tender process.
Ena Properties will preserve 74.75 percent share of the building as it won the works offering 25.25 percent share to the RCC.
In first phase, the 16-storey building will be set up to house a shopping mall covering several floors, a cinema hall on one floor, a restaurant, a gymnasium and different corporate offices. A replica of the old City Bhaban will be decorated in the new building to preserve its heritage.
The development and renovation of the banks of Sona Dighi adjacent to the City Centre, construction of walkways, three-storey mosque replacing the existing two-storey mosque, and constructing of an information technology library, a MP theatre around the pond and rehabilitation of existing shops around the pond will be implemented under the second phase.
In the third phase, the Survey Institute building at north-western corner of the City Centre will be shifted to other place and a park will be constructed at the place.
Talking to The Daily Star, RCC Chief Engineer Sirajum Munir said the second and third phases are allocated for doing the additional works. "If these works are considered, the share of the city corporation stands at 34.50 percent from 25.25 percent proposed by Ena Properties in the bid."