Mass tribunal charges WB, IMF, ADB
Orders govt to realise compensation for causing national losses
Tuesday December 02 2008 04:22:31 AM BDT
An independent mass tribunal in Dhaka on Monday charged the World Bank and two other lending agencies with offences of causing damage to Bangladesh’s economy and society and asked the government to take steps to realise reparations from them.(The Newage)
The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank were asked to stop ‘illegal activities’ while carrying out agendas of their masters. ‘Or else they will have to suspend their operations and leave this country,’ said the seven-member tribunal in its verdict.
The tribunal recommended that the accumulated losses in economic and social sectors due to lenders’ policies and activities should be calculated by a committee comprising some experts and three agencies should pay compensations for their misdeeds. The government was also ordered to try the lending agencies’ local collaborators for carrying out anti-people activities.
‘This tribunal thinks that their destructive policies, projects and unlawful activities have resulted in enormous economic and social losses in the country,’ said Mohammad Ghulam Rabbani, a former Supreme Court judge, who presided over the symbolic trial process by the tribunal at the National Press Club.
The mass tribunal preparatory committee, formed in November 2007, sent letters dated November 23, 2008 to invite the representatives of the three agencies in Dhaka to take part in Monday’s hearing and kept five seats reserved for them to defend their position. But none of them turned up.
Upon announcement of the judgement in front of about 500 people, including rights activists, the three-page judgement was signed by six other members of the tribunal, Dhaka University professor emeritus, Sirajul Islam Chowdhury, professor of International Relations of the same university, Akmal Hossain, journalists Kamal Lohani and Syed Abul Maksud, writer Selina Hossain and engineer Sheikh Muhammad Shahidullah.
Following the depositions made at the hearing, the tribunal indicted the multinational lending agencies for subjecting people to deprivation and widening disparity, ruining indigenous industries, retrenchment of workers, destruction of food and energy security, price-hike of essential items, agricultural inputs, water and electricity, commercialisation of education and health sectors, degradation of environment, creating dependency and hampering policy sovereignty.
‘It is also proved that in order to impose the burden of loans and influence the governments, the World Bank and similar organisations had resorted to various kinds of illegal means including gifts, bribes, blackmailing and pressuring [authorities] in secret manner with the help of the undemocratic interventions by the foreign ambassadors and vested quarters,’ read the judgement.
Economists MM Akash submitted deposition on their harmful influence on industrial sector, Muinul Islam on financial and Anu Muhammad on energy sector, physician-cum-politician Mustaq Hossain on health, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal leader, Bazlur Rashid Firoz on education, Shah Alam of the Centre for Law Research on jute and Junaid Saki of Bangladesh Krishak Majur Sanghati on agriculture sector.
They all demanded compensations for the losses as a result of the policies and programmes of the lending agencies.