Photo : Collected
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has recommended preventive measures to curb the annual loss of hundreds of crores of taka incurred by the government in fertilizer transportation. This initiative follows the ACC's approval to file three separate cases against seven officials from the Bangladesh Fertilizer Association (BFA).
The accused officials are alleged to have embezzled approximately Tk 16 crore from imported government fertilizers. The incidents took place at BFA warehouses located in Patuakhali, Shambhuganj in Mymensingh, and Mahendranagar in Lalmonirhat.
Sources indicate that the ACC's recommendations will be forwarded to the Secretary of the Ministry of Industries for consideration.
ACC Assistant Director (AD) Mohammad Neamul Ahsan Gazi has been tasked with submitting the statements as the plaintiff in the three cases and leading the investigation.
The ACC received complaints against Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC)-listed fertilizer dealers and transport contractors for creating a syndicate with the help of BCIC to steal and smuggle out fertilizer worth billions of taka in the name of transport since 2009 and embezzle money by selling that fertilizer. The inquiry was opened in 2017. After the inquiry, Deputy Director Selina Akter Moni submitted a report to the commission recently.
Harun-or-Rashid, the former in-charge Deputy Manager (Fire and Safety) of Patuakhali BFA warehouse, embezzled Tk 6 crore 75 lakh 47 thousand worth of 2,387.50 metric tons of fertilizer imported by BCIC approved government between 2009 and 2017. A case will be filed against him.
Former Deputy Chief Engineer (Mechanical) of Shambhuganj BFA Warehouse Abdul Bari, former Deputy Chief Engineer (Power) BM Rokon-ud-Daulah, former Executive Engineer (Chemicals) and former in-charge of Shambhuganj BFA warehouse Shariful Islam, and Executive Engineer (Chemicals) Shahjahan Bhuyan embezzled Tk 1 crore 69 lakh 8 thousand of government fertilizers imported through abuse of power between 2007-2019. A case will be filed against them.
Former Deputy Chief Engineer (Instrument) Hanif Mia and Assistant General Manager (Commercial) and Second Senior Officer Habibur Rahman of Lalmonirhat Mahendranagar of BFA warehouse have caused a financial loss of Tk 7 crore 22 lakh 77 thousand to the government due to the import price of 2220.30 metric tons of fertilizer. A case will be filed against them.
To prevent wastage, absorption, and loss of fertilizer due to natural causes in the future, the construction of BFA warehouses for storage of fertilizers by BCIC, development of 2-3 feet more land in the warehouse area, employment of manpower in BFA warehouses, and determination of proper handling losses in transportation, reception, and supply of fertilizers. The enquiry officer Deputy Director Selina Akhtar Moni has recommended the necessary measures to install digital weighing scales in every BFA warehouse. She submitted the report recommending that the recommendations be forwarded to the secretary of the Ministry of Industries.
Besides, in light of the recommendations of the enquiry officer, the commission has decided to close this part of the complaint as no irregularities were found at the BFA warehouses in Rajshahi, Charkai, Thakurgaon, Shiromani, Kaliganj, Rangpur, Mohini Mill, Kurigram, Dinajpur, Baghabari, Nagarbari, Baghabarighat, Natore, Gaibandha, Tepakhola, Barisal, Bhola, Jaipurhat, Parvatipur, Jashore, and Tekerhat, Kanchanghat, Khulna-4, 5, 7 no Ghat, Shiromani Ghat, Afil Ghat, and Nawapara Ghat transit points.