Photo : Collected
A junior auditor at Bangladesh Railway successfully withdrew salaries and allowances for nine months under the names of 15 fictitious railway officials by forging the user ID of the government's IBAS++ system (Integrated Budget and Accounting System). The incident took place within Chittagong Railway.
After an investigation by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), the investigation officer submitted a report recommending departmental action against the then Deputy Financial Advisor (DFA), Mohammad Shahjahan, and accusing the junior auditor named Faisal Mahbub.
Mohammad Shahjahan currently serves as the Assistant Project Director (Audit & Accounts) of the Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Development Project (Line-5) Southern Route (PRF) at Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL).
According to ACC sources, if the commission approves, a charge sheet will be filed in court.
Recently, ACC Assistant Director Emran Hossain submitted the investigation report. Former Deputy Assistant Directors Faisal Quader and Nurul Islam also investigated the matter. On May 12, 2021, former Deputy Assistant Director Nurul Islam filed a case (number-7) at the Integrated District Office (Chittagong-1) of ACC.
According to the ACC investigation report, on August 5, 2020, DFA Shah Alam Bhuiyan received DDO ID allocation from IBAS++. Upon his transfer, he handed over the charge to Mohammad Shahjahan on August 27, who retained the ID. Additionally, he possessed an SDO ID (Personal) in his name, which lacked the option of sanctioning salaries. A user ID was assigned in the name of Junior Auditor Faisal Mahbub in the establishment branch from IBAS++. Faisal Mahbub knew the password of the ID allotted to DFA due to his role as the Master Trainer of IBAS++ at various times. Using two IDs, he created 15 fake officials by using the names and national identity cards of 15 individuals. By doing so, Faisal embezzled a total of Tk 72,54,828 through 136 transactions (tokens) from May 2020 to May 2021, withdrawing salaries and allowances into four bank accounts in Faisal Mahbub's name.
The investigation report reveals that the user ID used in the fraud was allocated in the name of the Deputy Financial Advisor (DFA) of the Chattogram office. After the transfer of the previous DFA Shah Alam Bhuiyan, it was Mohammad Shahjahan's official duty to inform the IBAS++ authority to change the password of the user ID, close the previous ID, and issue a new ID in his name. Unfortunately, he took no action. Sharing one's user ID and password with others is strictly prohibited. Mohammad Shahjahan neglected his duty and demonstrated incompetence as the head of the office responsible for the final approval of salaries and allowances in the IBAS++ system for himself and other officials. Faisal Mahbub used two user IDs, including his own and the fraudulent one, for nine months. As a result, departmental action has been recommended against Mohammad Shahjahan. However, the investigating officer did not find any evidence of embezzlement against him.
Regarding the complaint, Mohammad Shahjahan told The Daily Messenger, “I detected Faisal Mahbub. Later, I followed the instructions of my superiors and conducted an investigation. After Mr. Shah Alam’s transfer, his user ID should have been auto-deactivated. However, that did not happen, and the IBAS++ authority can provide an explanation. Changing the password is not my responsibility.”
It is noted that the DFA/Chittagong office gives the final approval of salary and bills for the officials and employees of Bangladesh Railway’s DFA/Chittagong (Own Officers/Employees), DPO (Divisional Personnel Officer), DME (Divisional Mechanical Engineer), DEN (Divisional Engineer), DTO (Divisional Transportation Officer), DMO (Divisional Medical Officer), and several other branches (except CRB).
IBAS++ is a modern automation system. Once data entry is completed in this system, an automatic salary bill is prepared against the respective DDO at the beginning of every month. Subsequently, the salary bills are tokenized into the system, approved, and the salary is paid through EFT to the bank.