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14 July 2024

JKG Healthcare scam: ACC files case against Dr Sabrina, 6 others

Messenger Online

Published: 17:27, 10 July 2024

JKG Healthcare scam: ACC files case against Dr Sabrina, 6 others

Dr Sabrina Sharmin. Photo : Collected

The Anti-Corruption Commission filed a case against seven people, including former registrar of the National Heart Institute and JKG Healthcare Chairperson Dr Sabrina Sharmin Hussain alias Sabrina Arif Chowdhury, for their involvement in the JKG Healthcare scam where they issued fake Covid-19 test reports. 

The others accused in the case include Sabrina's husband JKG Healthcare Managing Director Ariful Chowdhury and Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Professor Mohammad Abul Kalam Azad.

ACC Assistant Director Afnan Jannat Kaya filed the case on Wednesday (10 July) under Section 5(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1947 along with relevant sections of the Penal Code.

According to the ACC, Dr Sabrina Sharmin Hussain, while working at the National Heart Institute, used her position to benefit financially through a business called JKG Healthcare without the authority's permission.

Moreover, colluding with the director general of the DGHS and others, she assisted her husband Ariful Chowdhury's Oval Group-owned company JKG Healthcare, which is unregistered and without a trade license, to obtain permission to collect samples for Covid-19 testing.

Besides, they also opened free Covid-19 sample collection booths without any approval from the Health Services Division. JKG Healthcare's employees went door-to-door to collect samples while charging them a fee, but did not send the collected Covid samples to proper labs and provided fake reports to at least 15,460 patients.  

She has also attempted to illegally obtain government employment benefits by extending her tenure by up to 5 years by changing her date of birth by providing false information at the workplace using two national identity cards.

Dr Sabrina Chowdhury, who was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment in a case filed over delivering false report of Covid-19, was granted bail by the High Court on 5 June 2023.

According to the confessional statement of JKG's former staff member, Humayun Kabir, JKG Healthcare staffers would collect samples for Covid-19 tests, but throw them away without testing.

JKG Healthcare collected samples for Covid-19 tests in different parts of the country including Dhaka. It issued false Covid-19 positive reports to around 27,000 people without testing any of those samples.

On 23 June 2020, JKG Healthcare was raided and sealed, and a case was filed with Tejgaon police station against six people, including JKG CEO Ariful Chowdhury, for providing fake Covid-19 test reports.

Police arrested Ariful and five other employees of the organisation on the same day. Dr Sabrina was arrested on 12 July 2020 after police were informed of her alleged involvement.

On 20 August 2020, the court of Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Sharifuzzaman Ansari framed charges against the accused.

Among the accused, Himu, Tanzila, and Romeo pleaded guilty and testified in court.

Messenger/Sumon