The Anti-Corruption Commission on Thursday arrested 13 people, including 11 Public Works Department engineers, on charges of procurement irregularities in the Green City Housing Project at the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant.
ACC deputy director M Nasir Uddin arrested the people after filing four cases against them over incidents of embezzling Tk 31 crore, said ACC chairman Iqbal Mahmood.
For the first time in ACC’s history it arrested as many as 13 people in a single instance, said ACC officials.
Former PWD executive engineer of Pabna Muhammad Masudul Alam was made the prime accused in all four cases.
The 10 other PWD accused are sub-assistant engineers MD Zahidul Kabir, M Shafiqul Islam, M Abu Sayed and M Rawshon Ali, sub-divisional engineers Md Mostofa Kamal, Ahmed Sazzad Khan and M Tahazzadul Hossain, estimator and sub-assistant engineer Sumon Kumar Nandi, assistant engineers M Tarique and M Aminul Islam.
The two suppliers who were accused are owner of M/s Majid Sons Construction Ltd Asif Hossain and that of Sanji Construction Ltd Shahadat Hossain.
All of these people were made accused in more cases than one as the commission filed four cases after it found that money was embezzled in procurements for four construction sites, ACC officials said.
The cases were filed with the ACC integrated office in Pabna while the accused were arrested in the capital’s Segunbagicha area.
The commission later produced them at the court of Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Nivana Khair Jessy.
Rejecting the bail pleas for the accused, the court sent them to jail.
According to ACC findings, the people embezzled about Tk 7.79 crore in the name of supplying furniture and electrical appliances to RNPP’s 20-storey building-1.
In the same manner, Tk 7.48 crore was embezzled from the nuclear plant’s second building, Tk 7.84 crore from the third building and Tk 8.12 crore from the first building under another contract, the anti-graft body said.
The ACC findings showed that a total of 300 furniture items and electrical appliances were supplied to the high-rises built for the accommodation of Russian nationals working at the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant.
On October 17, the commission formed a committee to investigate the alleged procurement irregularities at the RNPP Green City Housing project.
The commission said that there was an allegation that Masudul Alam and the others were involved in the purchase of electric stoves, electric kettles, room cleaners, television sets, refrigerators, pillows and washing machines at astonishingly high prices for the RNPP apartments.
According to the ACC investigation, the PWD showed that each of the pillows cost Tk 5,957 with an additional cost of Tk 760 for lifting it while each electric stove cost Tk 7,747 with Tk 6,650 additional lifting cost.
The price of each electric kettle was shown to be Tk 5,313 with Tk 2,945 additional lifting cost and the department billed Tk 12,018 for each room cleaner with Tk 6,650 as its lifting cost.
Each electric iron cost Tk 4,154 with an additional Tk 2,945 as lifting cost.
Each television set cost Tk 86,970 and the lifting cost for it was Tk 7,698.
Each refrigerator cost Tk 94,250 and its lifting cost was Tk 12,521.
In May, the PWD withdrew executive engineer Masudul Alam from Pabna over the irregularities.
Amid harsh criticisms, prime minister Sheikh Hasina in June said that the person involved in the alleged RNPP purchasing irregularities once belonged to Bangladesh Nationalist Party’s student wing Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal.
The BNP claimed that Masadul Alam was never involved with Chhatra Dal.
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