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Corruption in health sector: 45 accused of amassing illegal wealth

  • Published at 07:46 pm September 22nd, 2020
File photo of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) office in Dhaka's Mohakhali Google Maps

ACC has so far filed cases against 12 out of 45 officials

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is investigating allegations of amassing wealth illegally against 45 officials working in various offices under the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).

ACC has so far filed cases against 12 out of the 45 people.

The anti-graft watchdog has also sent notices to 21 of the officials asking them to provide information on their wealth within 21 business days, said Dilwar Bakht, the commission’s secretary.

“We served them several notices at various times to provide information on their wealth,” he added.

In 2019, ACC formed an investigation team to probe corruption in the health sector and to identify the syndicate engaged in these practices.

The commission has found that most of the 45 officials do not have any valid source of income to account for such large amounts of wealth as they work as a driver, clerk, office assistant, storekeeper, or computer operator, etc. under offices of the DGHS, according to ACC documents. 

An ACC source said it is impossible to accumulate such amounts of wealth without help from senior DGHS officials.

Also Read - RAB files 2 cases against DGHS driver Malek 

People being investigated by the ACC also include the DGHS director general’s driver Abdul Malek and his wife, Nargis Begum.

On September 16, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested Malek on charges of various irregularities ncluding fake currency trading, manipulating tenders, possession of illegal arms, and extortion.

ACC Secretary Dilwar on Monday told journalists that the commission has been investigating Malek for amassing illegal wealth since 2019.

The commission questioned three officials of the Central Medical Stores Depot (CMSD) probing into the purchase of fake N95 masks and personal protective equipment (PPE).

On July 10, ACC Chairman Iqbal Mahmood said those involved in corruption within the health sector will be brought to justice once they are identified.

Praising the ACC’s current initiative, TIB Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman said ACC’s move deserves appreciation.

However, their success will be measured by the extent to which the alleged individuals are genuinely brought to account, he said.

It has to be ensured that this effort does not remain confined to the frontliners of the corruption, most of whom are small fry, he added.

He continued: “Those currently being chased couldn’t have earned such kind of money nor could they have accumulated such wealth without the collusion, participation, and protection of their superiors, many of whom are the big fish.”