The nation was shocked when a forest officer nicknamed “Boner Raja” (King of Forest) hid his ill-gotten cash in a very innovative way. The recent reports of seizures of Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV) from two low-grade employees of the state-run Power Development Board (PDB) met with similar shock.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on Tuesday recovered a Pajero SUV which was being used by Jahirul Islam Chowdhury, a third-grade employee of the PDB and president of Collective Bargaining Agent (CBA), for the past nine years without authorisation.A day before the ACC seized another Pajero SUV from CBS secretary Md. Alauddin Mia, also a class -III employee of the state-owned organisation.
CBA leaders are known for wielding extra power, but these two cases have shed light on the state of corruption in PDB. Similar situation might be there in such other organisations and needed to be probed.
Jahirul and Alauddin even after retiring from their services as an assistant accountant and a steno typist respectively did not hand over the vehicles.
Jahirul retired in June, 2018, while his fellow unionist Alauddin the previous year.
Following the order of ACC director general (admin) M Munir Chowdhury, CBA president Jahirul sent the car (Sylhet-Gha-02-0033) to the ACC at 12:30pm, while Alauddin’s was seized from Motijheel area.
ACC sources told the daily sun that Jahirul had been using the vehicle since 2009, inflicting a loss of nearly Tk 75 lakh (7.5 million) -- 35 lakh fuel cost and Tk 40 lakh driver’s salary -- during the past 10 years. In Alauddin’s case, PDB lost at least Tk 72,00,000.Both the vehicles were meant for the use of senior PDB officers and some of them maybe lucky now and able to use the vehicles meant for their use as the ACC handed it back to the affected organisation.
ACC secretary Delwar Bakth told this correspondent that “It is a corruption because he (Jahirul) is not entitled to use government car. Tough legal action will be taken against him after investigation.”
In reply to a query, he said “We will take tough action against the people involved in this kind of corruption.”
Former Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith had admitted that 2-3 percent of our GDP was lost due to corruption.
But the Berlin-based Tranparecy International’s Bangladesh capter recently put that figure to at least 5 percent of the GDP if large public procurement along with corruption in health, education, police and judiciary were included.
The question that has been going around is how tough are the actions taken against the two remains to be seen or would both of them go free using their union muscle and related links in the high ups of the government.
A senior journalist said unless all those found involved in graft are given tough punishments the fight against graft would fail as many of these officials go scot-free in one way or the other. “I expected their immediate arrest and thus doubtful about justice in the cases.”
The anti-graft drive during the military-backed caretaker government of Fukhruddin Ahmed promised, but failed to deliver. The question for that government remained “Was it just an eye-wash to get popular support?”