As many as 118 candidates intending to participate in the upcoming 12th Jatiya Sangsad elections are found loan defaulters.
This revelation comes as Bangladesh Bank handed over the list of loan defaulters to the Election Commission, confirming the details according to sources from both institutions.
The national election, scheduled for January 7, has prompted the Bangladesh Bank to share the list of loan defaulters as instructed.
The Financial Institutions Division (FID) in a gazette instructed banks to submit the list of loan defaulters to returning officers by November 28, a crucial step preceding the submission of nomination papers.
The circular emphasised the responsibility of bank officials to accurately provide borrower-related information to the candidates. Stringent punitive actions are threatened for those offering incorrect information. During the nomination paper selection process, bank officials are required to be present, verifying the default loan status of candidates and confirming their eligibility.
The circular outlined that failure to repay loan instalments before submitting the nomination paper renders the candidate ineligible for the election.
The Bangladesh Bank, on November 30, had previously asked banks to furnish information about defaulted loans of candidates seeking to contest the upcoming national elections to the Election Commission.
According to the Representation of the People Order, 1972, individuals failing to repay defaulted loans seven days before the nomination paper submission are disqualified from participating in the election. The disqualification period for directors of companies or partners of firms is one day before the submission of nomination papers, as per Article 12.
Secretary of Shushashoner Jonno Nagorik (SHUJAN) Badiul Alam Majumdar said that, as per the law, these disqualified candidates should not participate in the upcoming national election, urging the Election Commission to take appropriate action.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a managing director of a private bank assured compliance with regulatory instructions, stating that the list of defaulters had been sent to the central bank as per the rules and regulations.
Senior officials at the central bank clarified that defaulters can appeal to the Election Commission, which will subsequently make the final decision.
Loan defaulters were for the first time made disqualified from contesting polls in 1991 to prevent their participation in national polls.