100 PWD engineers under ACC scanner
Allegation of misusing the govt money
Golam Mostafa Jibon: Over 100 engineers of Public Works Department have now remained under scanner of high-ups including Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) due to various allegations of corruption and irregularities.
Meanwhile, surveillance has beefed up to monitor the works of those engineers with a view to ensure transparency in their works and bring control in spending the government money. According to the sources, the Department of Public Works (PWD) is basically involved in repairing works ofthe government installations all over the country including capital. But, there has been created a mountain of complaints over misappropriation of funds allocated in this sector for a long time. There are various allegations including making fake bill-vouchers without working and billing more than once for the same work. In the current Financial Year (FY) 2021-22, the government has allocated a total of Tk 810 crore. The works of the concerned 103 Executive Engineers (Ex-En)are being monitored by the high-ups so that there is no irregularity or corruption in the expenditure of the money. Besides, several allegations of corruption and irregularities brought against those officers are being verified by the ACC officials.
Tk 405 crore has been allocated for 5,912 works in residential buildings and Tk 405 crore for 6,174 works in non-residential buildings. Of them, Tk 81 crore is under the sole jurisdiction of the Chief Engineer. The Ministry of Finance has released Tk 364.50 crore out of Tk 810 crore.
Relevant sources said, the work should be completed by this June. After that the allocated money will go back to the government treasury. For this reason, many Executive Engineers will want to finish the work through anomalies. In that case, there may be irregularities and corruption.
Chief Engineer of the Department of Public Works said,”All engineers are now under strict monitoring or supervision over the expense of money. Earlier, those who were notorious for spending the government money have already been warned by calling them in person or in another way. However, a section of engineers working in the field say that the executive engineers who have good communication at the top level, have less opportunity to spend money in their work area, but APP money has been increased. Besides, the concerned authorities don’t have much headacheoverthe influential engineers.
Shamim Akhtar, Chief Engineer of the Department of Public Workssaid, “Overall, we have to face a lot of criticism about the cost of APP. The problem is a little more in Dhaka. I have called those who are involved in spending money on these issues separately. They were given guidance on various issues. Those who work at the head office have a good attitude; we are making arrangements for monitoring with them.””If we start today, tomorrow everything will not be fine. Even then, we have started; I am trying to get out of this notoriety. This time, we are doing many committees all over the country. They will strictly monitor the cost of repairs. Among the all engineers, 64 executive engineers are involved in repairing works across the country. Among the metropolises, six are in Chattogram, three in Rajshahi and three in Khulna. The remaining 25 are from the capital. Some of these 103 engineers had earlier been accused of irregularities and corruption. In some cases, departmental case is also pending against someone.
It has been learned that, Executive Engineer (Dhaka Public Works Division-1) Rajibul Islam is in charge of maintenance of some installations including Rajarbagh Complex in the capital. He got allocation of Tk 10 crore for the repair sector in the current financial year after submittingdemand for 150 works. Earlier, the authorities concerned had called the engineer more than once as there were several allegations of spending additional money against him.
Besides, Sir Salimullah Medical College, Government Employees Hospital and Dhaka Medical College are maintained by Executive Engineer (Medical College) Azmal Haque Moon. He has received Tk 12 crore this year with the demand for 245 repairing works. In addition, the Ministry of Health has allocated more than Tk 100 million in his department. In all, this engineer has allowed to spend Tk 22 crore. He has spent almost the same amount in the last financial year. But the condition of all buildingsof the three hospitals is bad. The Department of Public Works received extensive complaints from concerned persons. Besides, this engineer was suspended for two and a half years on the charge of paying bills without work while he was the executive engineer in Kishoreganj. He has been called and warned.
Executive Engineer Mohammad Shah Alam Faruk Chowdhury has been in charge of Dhaka Division-2 of Public Works Department for a long time. With the demand for 224 works, he got Tk 31 crore. This engineer has been in the same chair for four years.
Sheikh MohammadKudrat-e-Khuda, chief arborist in charge of the PWD tree conservation (arboriculture department) got Tk 10 crore with 224 works demands. Many allegations of embezzling money in the name of excessive expenses have intensified against him for a long time. Therefore, the authorities have also paid attention to prevent irregularities in the financial expenditure of the department which is hidden from view.
Atiqul Islam, Executive Engineer (maintenance department in Dhaka) is in charge of maintaining some abandoned houses and three buildings in Segunbagicha area of the capital. Despite not having a place to spend, this engineer has mysteriously got allocation of Tk 21 crore against 120 works in the financial year. However, the head of the institution made several allegations of irregularities to the state minister for housing and public works regarding an important installation in the Segunbagicha area built under the supervision of this engineer. Later, the situation calmed down due to various activities of the top level of the ministry and the head of the department, but the end has not come yet. Therefore, by managing the chief engineers at different times, the authorities are keeping a separate eye on the long-surviving engineer Atiqul.
With the demand for 518works, the three divisions of Sher-e-Bangla Nagar have received a total allocation of Tk 465 million. The department has a parliament building, several government hospitals, MPs’ residences and some government residential areas. There are also questions about spending huge amount of money.
Motijheel division has got allocation of Tk 12 crore for 227 works. Several buildings have been demolished in the government residential area and new buildings have been constructed there. Some people are skeptical about the repair work with such a huge amount of money. SaifuzzamanChunnu, Executive Engineer of Mirpur division, got Tk 12 crore against the demand of 176works. At present most of the residential area buildings in Mirpur are new. In fact, there is not much opportunity to spend Tk 12 crore. Apart from this, while this engineer was out of Dhaka, he committed irregularities like inviting tenders worth Tk 19 crore with an allocation of Tk 10 crore. So he has been kept under surveillance.
Ashraful Haque, Executive Engineer, Electro Mechanical (EM) Division-1, has been kept under close watch. He has received Tk 13 crore for 148 small and big works. A departmental case is pending against him for irregularities at Rooppur nuclear power plant.
Anwar Hossain, Executive Engineer of EM Division-5 has received Tk 9.26 crore for 16 works. A year ago, there were allegations of massive irregularities in the construction of the headquarters of an important government agency in Segunabagicha under the supervision of this engineer. As a result, the top management are quite worried about the financial authority in his hands.
Sameeran Mistry, an Executive Engineer who has been in charge of EM Division-7 for a long time, has got allocation of Tk 16 crore with the demand of 189 works. Although, the engineer is known to be influential in the Parliament building area, he is seen rushing to the Secretariat during most of the government working days. He is also under close observation.
Gazipur and Manikganj districts are under EM Division-11 Executive Engineer Sajidul Islam. There is an allocation of Tk 6 crore in the name of this engineer who is involved in various irregularities in his working life. The Public Works Department is aware of this engineer who is accused of embezzling money by not working at the district level.
Besides, Yusuf, Executive Engineer of the factory department has taken up the allocation of 11.25 crore with the demand of 112 works. After completing the works in the current financial year and giving the bill voucher, it will be scrutinized, said the concerned officials.
Speaking to multiple engineers, it is learned that APP is allotted after receiving demand letters from those who will do the work in one year. But the real picture is different. In the case of those who have been in charge of other important departments including Dhaka for a long time, there is bias in the allocation of APP. Some influential engineers have takenhighly APP this year as compared to last financial year. They are all blessed at the top level. Those who are innocent in nature, authoritieshave allocated nominal APP for them.
One of the engineers also claimed that the cat in the bag would come out, if the executive engineer, who has been staying in Dhaka for a long time, is interrogated by ACC with the list of APP expenses for the last few years.
However, the allegation of bias in the allocation of APP is not correct, claimed the Chief Engineer Shamim Akhtar.He said, “Special attention is being paid to those who are already notorious for spending money. All over the country, including Dhaka, the allocation has been increased especially for medical colleges. That is why, everyone has been told to do the work properly. Action will be taken against those who cause trouble.”
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