The Forum panel of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), had applied to the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) arbitration tribunal on January 31, alleging voter fraud in the upcoming BGMEA polls.
It claims that 429 BGMEA voters have not been in the apparel business for years, many among them do not even have a valid tax identification number (TIN). Though by regulation this issue should have been resolved within 7 days of submission, it remains unresolved till date.
Besides, the Forum also claimed that Mohiuddin Rubel, a candidate of rival panel Sammilita Parishad, is participating in the polls from the Dhaka zone, even though his factory is located in the Karnaphuli Export Processing Zone situated in Chattogram.
Faisal Samad, panel leader of Forum, and also a presidential candidate in the BGMEA polls scheduled to be held on March 9, told The Business Post, “We have found significant irregularities in the voter list and candidate nomination papers.
“We submitted an appeal to the BGMEA Election Appeal Board, and 67 voters have already been eliminated from the voter list because of fraud.”
He continued, “We submitted another appeal to the FBCCI arbitration tribunal for the remaining 429 voters, which we identified as fraudulent. But the FBCCI is yet to take any initiative even after 10 days. We have no option but to wait.”
The Business Post tried to reach out to the arbitration tribunal Chairman Abdul Matlub Ahmed for comments on the matter, but did not respond to any questions till the filing of this report.
Faisal added, “We believe that the 429 false voters belong to Sammilita Parishad. But even if they are our supporters, we do not want to see them in the voter list.”
Siddikur Rahman, co-coordinator of the Sammilita Parishad said, “The BGMEA election commission has the sole authority in this regard, and we are following their guidelines. If the commission finds any irregularities, they have the right to take action.”
Factory in Chattogram, but candidate for Dhaka
Voters pick 35 directors for the BGMEA, and among them, nine positions are reserved for Chattogram-based factories. A candidate with a factory in Chattogram cannot contest in polls for positions reserved for Dhaka zones, and vice versa.
But Chattogram-based factory Denim Expert Ltd Deputy Managing Director Mohiuddin Rubel is participating in the polls as Dhaka region’s candidate, even though his factory is taking Utilization Declaration (UD) from the port city BGMEA office.
Forum leaders claimed that this is unethical, and Mohiuddin secured his nomination using his influence.
A senior BGMEA member, who was involved in the apex body's charter preparation, said, “This is unethical. Chattogram's member must participate in the polls from that region.
“All Chattogram-based factory owners, who are interested in participating in the election from the Dhaka region, have set up another factory in the Dhaka zone. BGMEA’s former president Fazlul Haque and former first vice president Abdus Salam are such examples.”
Mohiuddin Rubel, however, said, “We set up a commercial office in Dhaka, and that is why I am participating in the polls from the Dhaka region.”
Meanwhile, Forum Panel leader Faisal Samad said, “We are considering factory locations, not offices. Rubel’s factory office was in Chittagong at the beginning. We will submit another appeal regarding this issue.”