ACC summons former health chief Azad

Staff Correspondent | Updated at 01:08am on August 07, 2020

The Anti-Corruption Commission on Thursday summoned immediate past Directorate General of Health Services director general Abul Kalam Azad for interrogation over his alleged involvement in N95 mask scam and irregularities  regarding the agreement signed between Regent Hospital and the DGHS.

The commission decided to interrogate Azad on August 12 as part of its ongoing inquiry into the low-quality health products, including N-95 masks, delivered to some of the government hospitals by some private companies, ACC director for public relations Pranab Kumar Bhattacharjee said.

He also added that he would be interrogated on August 13 over the irregularities regarding the agreement between Regent Hospital and the DGHS.

He said that an ACC team led by its director Mir Joynul Abedin Shibli would interrogate Azad over the N95 mask scam while director Sheikh Muhammad Fanafillah would interrogate over the irregularities into the agreement between Regent Hospital and the DGHS.

On July 21, Azad resigned amid widespread criticism over massive irregularities in the country’s health sector, exposed one after another during the current COVID-19 health crisis.

He submitted his resignation to the public administration ministry as the DHGS chief was in the service on contract after his service term ended in 2019.

The health ministry and the DHGS were trading blame recently as the law enforcement agencies unearthed a series of COVID-19 test report forgery scams involving several private hospitals.

Several other scams in the health sector were also exposed, including the N95 mask scam at the outset of the COVID-19 crisis, and the controversial deals signed with Regent Hospital and JKG Health Care, two of the institutions accused of forging and selling COVID-19 reports and running the facilities without licenses.

On June 18, the ACC formed a four-member committee to investigate the allegation that low-quality products were passed off as N95 masks as part of COVID-19 medical supplies to some government hospitals by JMI Group.

On July 13, the ACC launched an inquiry against Regent Hospital owner Shahed Karim on the charge of accumulating illegal wealth through various fraudulent businesses and activities.