After a five-hour interrogation by the Anti-Corruption Commission over the alleged link in N95 mask scam, immediate past Directorate General of Health Services director general Abul Kalam Azad claimed himself as an innocent and intelligent officer.
“I worked as a hardworking, obedient, honest and intelligent person,” he told reporters, adding that he set an example giving voluntary resignation from his post after questions raised over some procurement.He said he would help the commission in its inquiry as he wanted punishment of people responsible for the irregularities, if any.
“However, I want those who are corrupt to get punished. I will cooperate with the ACC in this regard,” said Prof Azad.
The former health DG also claimed that a vested interest has been spreading propaganda against him.
A team of ACC led by its Director Mir Joynul Abedin Shibli interrogated him starting from 10am at the commission’s headquarters in the capital.
Earlier on August 6, the commission summoned Azad for interrogation over his alleged involvement in N-95 mask scam and irregularities regarding the agreement signed between Regent Hospital and the DGHS.
The commission decided to interrogate Azad on August 12 as part of its ongoing inquiry into the low-quality health products, including N-95 masks, delivered to some of the government hospitals by some private companies.The commission also decided to interrogate him on August 13 over the irregularities regarding the agreement between Regent Hospital and the DGHS.
Meanwhile, ACC Director Sheikh Md Fanafilla on Wednesday questioned four other DGHS officials—the former director (hospital and clinic) Dr Aminul Hasan, Deputy Directors Md Yunus Ali and Dr Md Shafiur Rahman and Research Officer Md Didarul Islam—in the Regent Hospital and JKG Healthcare scam case.
On July 21, Prof Azad resigned amid widespread criticism over massive irregularities in the country’s health sector exposed one after another during the current COVID-19 health crisis.
He submitted his resignation to the public administration ministry as the DHGS chief was in the service on contract after his service term ended in 2019.
The health ministry and the DHGS were trading blame recently as the law enforcement agencies unearthed a series of COVID-19 test report forgery scams involving several private hospitals.
Several other scams in the health sector were also exposed, including the N95 mask scam at the outset of COVID-19 crisis, and the controversial deals signed with Regent Hospital and JKG Health Care, two of the institutions accused of forging and selling COVID-19 reports and running the facilities without licenses.
On June 18, the ACC formed a four-member committee to investigate the allegation that low-quality products were passed off as N95 masks as part of COVID-19 medical supplies to some government hospitals by JMI Group.
On July 13, ACC launched an inquiry against Regent Hospital owner Shahed Karim on charges of accumulating illegal wealth.