Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) driver Abdul Malek was sentenced to 30 years in prison in a case filed under the Arms Act for possessing firearms and ammunition at his residence.
Judge Mohammad Rabiul Alam of Dhaka Special Tribunal-4 handed down the verdict at a jam-packed courtroom in presence of the lone convict.
Malek was sentenced to 15 years for possessing firearms and 15 years for possessing ammunition. But the punishment will run concurrently, which means he will have to spend only 15 years in jail. Earlier, the court on September 13 fixed the date to delivery of the verdict after concluding closing arguments hearing in the case.
A total of 13 prosecution witnesses testified before the court in the case.
Expressing satisfaction, the courts Assistant Public Prosecutor Salauddin Hawlader said “We got justice from the court.”
Beside, defence lawyer Shahinur Islam said, “We will file petition with higher court challenging the verdict as we failed to get justice from the court in the case.”
DGHS driver Malek was arrested by Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) from Dhaka’s Turag area on September 20 last year on charges of extortion and running illegal firearms trade in that area.
Later, RAB filed two cases against Malek with Turag police station. One case was under arms Act and the other under the Special Powers Act.
He was allegedly involved in many illegal activities and made huge wealth by transferring employees of different departments through lobbying.
On January 10, police submitted a charge sheet against him in the case.
According to the sources, with an educational qualification of class eight, Malek first joined the Savar Health Project as a driver in 1982. In 1986, he started working as a driver at the transport pool of DGHS.
According to RAB, there are two seven-storey buildings in the name of Malek’s first wife Nargis Akter in South Kamarpara. He has also a 10 to 12 katha plot adjacent to the buildings.
There is a dairy firm on a 15-katha land plot at South Kamarpara in the name of his eldest daughter.
Malek has also an under-construction 10-storey building on four katha of land in the capital’s Hatirpool area. He also has a huge amount of money deposited in different banks.
Malek during interrogation disclosed the names of several other government employees who are also involved in corruption.
According to sources, Malek had an “intimate” relationship with two former directors general (DG) of the DGHS and Medical Education and Family Welfare Division as he used to drive their government-issued vehicles.
Many used to refer to Malek as the “Shadow DG” and because of his very close ties with a former DG of the DGHS, people in the health sector knew him as his “foster son.”
Meanwhile, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in February also filed two cases against driver Abdul Malek and his wife Nargis Begum on charges of amassing illegal wealth.
According to the first case, Abdul Malek amassed Tk 1,50,31,810 illegally but submitted a false statement of Tk 93,53,648 to the ACC.
Beside, Malek and his wife Nargis Begum were made accused in the second case as Malek directly assisted his wife in acquiring wealth worth Tk 1,10,92,050 beyond known sources of income.