ACC mum over mega corruption scams   

Ahammad Foyez | Published: 00:08, Sep 19,2019


The Anti-Corruption Commission has made no visible move against the mega corruption allegations the government faces over its procurement processes for projects as well as departments.

The commission turned a blind eye to media reports exposing corruption by Green City Housing Project for the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, the Directorate General of Health Services, Faridpur Medical College and the Armed Police Battalion-6.

All the allegations went viral and drew huge public criticism. 

Asked about these scams, commission’s secretary Mohammad Delwar Bakht told New Age on Tuesday that the commission ‘cannot disclose its inquiries’.

He said that the findings would be disclosed only after the inquiries were completed.

ACC’s assigning officials, however, told New Age that the commission was yet to take any initiative to hold inquiries into these allegations.

The commission’s Allegation Scrutiny Cell officials said that until Tuesday the Complaint Receiving Section did not forward any complaint to them.

Opposition political parties and good governance campaigners blasted the government over its endemic corruption.

Good governance campaigners were astonished to find that ACC chairman Iqbal Mahmood only spoke about the housing project for the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant claiming that the commission was keeping an eye on the government’s probe and forgot to take any action.

According to the allegations, the Public Works Department purchased at astronomically high prices electric stoves, electric kettles, room cleaners, TV sets, refrigerators, pillows and washing machines, to furnish apartments for the Russian engineers and officials of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant.

Each pillow cost Tk 5,957 with additional lifting cost of Tk 760.

Each electric stove cost Tk 7,747 with the additional lifting cost of Tk 6,650.

The bill for each electric kettle was shown as Tk 5,313 with the additional lifting cost of Tk 2,945.

The PWD billed Tk 12,018 for each room cleaner and the additional lifting cost of Tk 6,650.

Each electric iron cost Tk 4,154 with the additional lifting cost of Tk 2,945.

Each TV set cost Tk 86,970 and the additional  lifting cost of Tk 7,698.

Each refrigerator reportedly cost Tk 94,250 and its lifting cost was Tk 12,521.

The media also exposed huge corruption in procuring medical appliances, curtains, bed sheets and other materials by Faridpur Medical College Hospital.

Each bedside screen cost an amazing amount of Tk 37.50 lakh.

The Directorate General of Health Services was astonished over the medical college submitting inflated bills to the tune of Tk 41 crore for buying oxygen generating plant, vacuum cleaners, blood pressure digital machines and curtains.

According to a directorate report, the hospital authorities submitted a bill of Tk 52.66 crore for buying equipment worth Tk 11 crore.

The report revealed that the hospital authorities had shown the price of a bedside screen for the ICU as Tk 37.50 lakh, an oxygen generating plant as Tk 5.27 crore, a vacuum cleaner as Tk 87.75 lakh, a BAEES monitoring plant as Tk 23.75 lakh, three digital blood pressure machines as Tk 30.57 lakh and a head cardiac stethoscope as Tk 1.12 lakh.

In a separate scam, the health directorate paid Tk 85,500 for each copy of the book ‘Principle and Practice of Surgery,’ for surgery students of Sheikh Sayera Khatun Medical College in Gopalganj while its actual price was Tk 5,500.

Tk 850,000 was paid for 10 copies, that’s a staggering Tk 800,000 more than the actual price.

The irregularities were not committed only with regard to buying the book for surgery students but 7,950 medical books the health department procured through two tenders for the state run medical colleges across the country for nearly Tk 7 crore.

The health directorate procured the books floating two tenders, one on May 26 and the other on May 27.

Another mega corruption occurred in Khagrachari in 10 projects of Armed Police Battalion 6.

Reportedly, each corrugated iron sheet cost Tk 1 lakh, 100 times its market price.

Mishu Enterprise, the construction firm billed Tk 14 lakh for two bundles of CI sheets.

Transparency International Bangladesh executive director Iftekharuzzaman said that the commission’s silence over the ‘mega corruption’ incidents was ‘not at all acceptable and it should take immediate action to regain public trust.’

He said that corruption seems to have become infectious.

The commission secretary also said that they filed some case over corruption allegations against some medial colleges including Cox’s Bazar Medical College and Rangpur Medical College.

On September 9, Jatiya Party lawmaker Pir Fazlur Rahman demanded formation of a parliamentary committee, comprising of senior MPs to look into corruption plaguing different sectors.

Taking the floor on a point of order, he rebuked corruption in government departments.

On September 15, while talking to reporters at  Bhulta, Narayanganj, road transport and bridges minister  and ruling Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader described the pillow  and curtain scams as nothing but ‘petty thefts’.

‘No MP or minister did this. The government is ensuring punishment to whoever were the perpetrators,’ Quader said.

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