PSC member violates rules to hold Teletalk director post

Iftekhar Mahmud and Ashraful Islam | Update:

Public Service Commission (PSC) member Kamal Uddin Ahmed has violated the rules, remaining a director on the board the mobile operator company Teletalk while retaining his position in the PSC.

He avoids mentioning his professional identity on the Teletalk documents, simply using his residential address of Baily Road in the official papers.

Teletalk officials hold meetings with Kamal Uddin Ahmed at his PSC office. He is also on various committees and sub- committees regarding recruitment and promotions of Teletalk while being a PSC member.

PSC is a constitutional institution responsible for selecting suitable and qualified persons in the service of the republic. The chairman and members of the organisation perform constitutional duties.

According to the sub article 3 and 4 of article 147 of Bangladesh’s constitution, constitutional post holders cannot hold posts of any profitable company or organisaiton. Though a government-owned company, Teletalk is registered as a commercial organisation.

Supreme Court lawyer Shahdeen Malik said Kamal Uddin Ahmed has violated his oath as a member of constitutional organisation like PSC, by being a director of a profitable organisaiton like Teletalk.

Speaking with Prothom Alo on Tuesday about his name on Teletalk’s board of directors and taking part in its meetings, Kamal Uddin Ahmed said, “I don’t know who has used by name. Look for corruption in the organisation rather than what I am or I am not.”

This correspondent was able to meet Kamal Uddin Ahmed on the fifth attempt at his PSC office, after he was said to be busy or in some meetings the previous four times.

About his post in the Teletalk, PSC member Kamal Uddin Ahmed said, “I don’t have any official relations with Teletalk. I was with the ICT ministry earlier. I was also on the board of Teletalk. I visit everyone I know. I’m a very friendly person.”

Kamal Uddin Ahmed denied commenting on holding the post in Teletalk while being a PSC member.

Kamal Uddin Ahmed was appointed PSC member on 8 February last year. He went on retirement in 2015 after serving as the additional secretary to the Information and Technology (ICT) Division. He was appointed as the member of the board of director in Teletalk as a representative of the government.

Post and telecommunication secretary and also the chairman of Teletalk board of director, Shyam Sunder Sikder said, “I know about the matter. I was informed about it during the first board meeting of Teletalk. The concerned authorities has been informed. You don’t have to be worried about it.”

Investigations reveal that according to the rules, Kamal Uddin Ahmed has to leave the post of board member of Teletalk after his retirement. Rather than doing so, Kamal Uddin Ahmed is holding the post for more than a year.

He also took part at the 166th board meeting of Teletalk on 9 April this year. He was also appointed as the convener of a promotion related committee.

The documents on Teletalk board meeting proceedings also did not reveal which organisation Kamal respresented at the meeting.

A director gets an honorarium of Tk 6,000 for attending each board meeting.

Teletalk managing director Kazi M Golam Kuddus refused to comment on the issue.

“It is inappropriate and unacceptable to hold a position in a business organisation while holding a constitutional post”, said Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) executive director Iftekharuzzaman.

It will have a negative effect on the image of a constitutional institution like PSC, he added.

Cases has been filed against two ministers of the current government for holding positions in business organisations while being ministers.

*This piece, originally published in Prothom Alo Bangla print edition, has been rewritten in English by Saimul Huda

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