Twelve public hospitals in the capital have misused and embezzled funds allocated by the government for quarantine expenses during the coronavirus pandemic.
The huge anomalies and financial losses have been found in quarantine expenses for health workers, including doctors, during a special audit.The health and family welfare directorate conducted the special audit from September 9 to October 12, 2020 on quarantine expenses during the pandemic from July 2019 to June 2020 in 12 public hospitals in the capital.
The audit delegation has identified 63 types of irregularities and financial losses, an audit report said.
It also says the government has suffered a huge financial loss of about Tk 19.93 crore while anomalies involving about Tk 73.79 crore have been found.
Mohammed Shahadat Husain, additional secretary of audit and financial management unit of health services division, told the Daily Sun that a written answer would be sought from the responsible person.
“Action would be taken against those responsible if their answers will not satisfactory,” he said.
“For the financial loss of the government, embezzled money would be recovered from those liable persons too,” he added.A total of 63 objections have been mentioned by the audit team after completion of their inspection in 12 hospitals, including Kuwait-Bangladesh Maitree Hospital (KBMH), Kurmitola General Hospital (KGH), Mugda General Hospital (MGH), Sir Salimullah Medical College Mitford Hospital (SSMCMH), Sheikh Russell Gastro Liver Institute and Hospital, Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College and Hospital (SSMCH), Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) and Biman Bandar Health Centre in Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, Institute of Public Health (IPH), National Institute of Preventive and Social Medicine (NIPSOM) and Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR).
The audit team set 14 issues for audit and found various anomalies and financial losses for some reasons, including the breach of the Public Procurement Act (PPA)-2006, the Public Procurement Rules (PPR)-2008, lack of feasibility studies, procure without signing deal and irregularities in tendering.
According to the report in KBMH, Tk 22,686,300 as hotel fees and foods to Regent Discovery Tours and Travels and Tk 4,722,100 to Mohiuddin Tours and Travels for providing foods were paid without signing any deal.
The hospital also paid additional Tk 8,050,500 to Hotel Blue Bird by showing an extra number of boarders than the actual one and it also paid Tk 3,892,000 by showing working hours as 16 hours instead of 8 hours.
Besides, Medicine and Surgical Requisites (MSR) products and medical equipments were procured, salary of Ansar members and cost of fuels were paid at the cost of Tk 14,651,250 from the allocation of quarantine by KBMH, MGH, DMCH, SSMCH and KGH.
MGH and KBMH authorities concerned also paid Tk 38,936,683 and Tk 27,110,683 to hotels including Hotel Blue Birds, Fars Hotel, Hotel Shalimar, Hotel Ekattor and Asia Hotel despite lack of sufficient papers for boarders.
Tk 116,251,517 was spent by KBMH, KGH and MGH authorities concerned by breaching PPR-2008, report mentioned.
Biman Bandar Health Centre and NIPSOM spent Tk 7,420,675 violating PPR-2008.
Besides, DMCH and IEDCR spent Tk 229,626,081 violating violation of Delegation of Financial Power.
Tk 129,014,677 were spent by three hospitals, including DMC and SSMCH, on managing accommodation of health workers in luxurious hotel, report cited.
The government also suffered a loss of Tk 1,705,530 for not deducting Advance Income Tax as per the rules and regulation by KBMGH, MGH, SSMCH and IEDCR.