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Bangladesh - February 12, 2022

Light punishment in heavy crime

Govt employees’ crimes in different ways

Farhad Chowdhury: News of irregularities and corruption in different sectors of the country is published all the time. Administration officials are often involved in these crimes. There are special rules for judging their irregularities and corruption. The first is the departmental case. When the crime is proved in the investigation, the issue of punishment comes up. The crime rate of administration officials has increased in the last few years. Several unpleasant incidents have taken place. In many cases the complaint was big. Has also been proven. However, it has been seen that the corrupt got a small punishment. Many have been given lesser punishment.
In this way, the officials of the administration are getting light punishment or just ‘reprimand’ again and again. Prominent people have expressed concern over the issue.
Officials are facing various charges including abuse of power, corruption, moral turpitude, negligence of duty, fraud, long absence in the workplace. As part of the departmental arrangements, they were given notice to show cause, and officers were appointed to investigate the crime. Punishment was given according to the investigation report.
As it turns out, even if a major offense is proven, the punishment is generally reduced to a lower step of the pay scale, suspension of salary increases for a certain period of time, reprimand, demotion – all these are limited to minor offenses. Departmental action was taken against the accused government officials in accordance with the Government Employees (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 2016.
The penalties laid down in the rules include demotion to lower rank or lower pay grade, compulsory retirement, dismissal and dismissal. However, many public administration experts do not consider it a serious punishment to be demoted to a lower position or lower salary grade. Punishment for misconduct and corruption is not specified in the rules. There is room for punishment. Public administration experts think that this opportunity is being misused.
Public administration experts and former officials said the administration was not going to ensure adequate punishment for crimes due to widespread politicization. Party loyal officers are being released with minor punishment even though they have committed major crimes. Irregularities and corruption in the administration will not stop if punishment is not ensured according to the seriousness of the crime. Rather, it will encourage government employees to commit crimes.
Officials at the Ministry of Public Administration say the punishment is based on the severity of the crime in the investigation report. In many cases, the punishment is determined considering the tenure, age and humanitarian aspect of the accused. In addition, the President has the power to pardon or reduce the punishment of anyone.
State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain told in this regard, “When departmental proceedings are started against an officer in the light of allegations, we try to find out what his crime is through various hearings.”
Different committees also go to the spot. When one of them is found guilty, according to the gravity of the crime or irregularity that comes, there are two provisions to give guru or mild punishment – that is given.
‘The president is the highest person who needs approval. The President has the power to pardon or pardon. Accordingly, it is done in some cases considering all aspects. If the state contributes more from him, then the mistake he has made or if he has committed a crime, then it is considered as a whole. In this case, some such decision is given. ‘
The state minister further said that an officer performed the service duties of the state entrusted to him. You may have made a mistake somewhere. The president often makes decisions based on how the mistake was made.
Former caretaker government adviser M Hafiz Uddin Khan told that he had also noticed the issue. There have been minor punishments for many major crimes. Penalties include two years off promotion or a slight reduction in salary; These were not punished.
Former Accountant General and Controller (CAG) Hafiz Uddin further said that crime is on the rise in our country as there is no proper punishment for crime. Not being punished according to the crime is a big problem. The administration is in a very bad situation now. The big reason is politicization. Corruption has increased due to politicization in the administration. Punishment is not like that. When a punishment is proposed, lobbying comes – so it is released with a little punishment. This is what we see from the outside.
Former senior secretary Abu Alam Shahid Khan told that when allegations are made against a government employee, a preliminary investigation takes place. When the preliminary investigation finds that there is some truth in the allegation, the investigation is carried out in accordance with the Service Rules. An investigating officer was appointed. Is there any crime in the investigation report? The next step is taken accordingly. The punishment that the investigating officer will consider is basically the punishment.
‘Often the process of sentencing depends on the evidence. It also depends on the discretion of the perpetrator.’
He said that according to what I have heard against the former DC of Kurigram, I would have been happy as a common man if he had any major punishment. The investigating officer or the person in charge of the trial does not have to be happy or upset.
Abu Alam further said that there is any weakness in our investigation or law. Again, the media trial we are conducting may not be accurate.
Public administration expert and former additional secretary Firoz Mia told that the punishment in the departmental case was given considering the level of allegations. Many times, the level of punishment depends on how close he is and how far he is. It is often seen that those who are supposed to be given light punishment are given severe punishment, while those who are supposed to be given severe punishment are being given light punishment. It is not supposed to happen if the one who will punish will show prudence and justice.
Commenting on the provisions of the Discipline and Appeal Rules of 2017 to ensure proper punishment for crimes committed by government employees, Firoz Mia said, “These rules provide for leniency for the corrupt.” According to the previous rules, if corruption was proved, there was no chance of hiring anyone. If the law is like this, then the punishment in the departmental case will be accordingly.
The measures taken for irregularities and corruption as a departmental measure are in many cases insignificant compared to the crime, said Dr. Iftekharuzzaman. He told that in many cases, suspensions, transfers, reprimands and promotions were suspended – all of which were insignificant compared to the allegations made.
Iftekharuzzaman said that these incidents were accompanied by abuse of power and corruption. So, in the case of any other citizen it is a crime under the jurisdiction of the Anti-Corruption Commission, in this case also (government employee) it should be applicable, we think. The ACC can set an example by taking action in the case of irregularities and corruption. If there is anything related to a criminal offense, law enforcement agencies should take action.
Iftekharuzzaman said the government had formulated a national integrity strategy in 2012 to curb irregularities and corruption. The unfortunate thing is that the strategy is not being followed. Because, if it was accepted, irregularities and corruption would not have come to this stage.
“If the issue of not ensuring proper punishment for crime continues unabated, it will help in promoting good governance and corruption in the country,” said the TIB executive director.
He added that there is a discrepancy in the government employment law. That is, before arresting government employees, the ACC has to get prior permission. This is unacceptable, why separate rules should be kept in their case. That should change.
Crimes’ of some of administration and their punishment
Former DC of Kurigram
At midnight on March 13, 2019, the then Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Kurigram Sultana Parveen, arrested a journalist namedAriful Islam from his house for harassing him and imprisoned him through a mobile court. Although no search was carried out in the house, they later took it to the DC office and claimed that half a bottle of liquor and 150 grams of cannabis were found in Ariful’s house.
After a preliminary investigation into the incident, a departmental case was filed against DC Sultana. The report submitted by the Board of Inquiry states that the allegations of ‘misconduct’ brought against Sultana Parveen have been substantiated.
The sentencing notification said that after reviewing the report of the Board of Inquiry and the relevant documents, a preliminary decision was taken to punish Sultana Parveen. But he was later given a ‘leniency penalty’ for suspending his pay rise for two years.
He later appealed the sentence. In view of this, the sentence was also revoked and he was acquitted Rintu Bikash Chakma also got light punishment. Rintu Bikash Chakma, a former assistant commissioner in the Kurigram deputy commissioner’s office, was also given a lenient sentence for harassing journalist Ariful.
The public administration ministry said in a notification that Rintu Bikash Chakma had abused his power while he was the assistant commissioner of the Kurigram deputy commissioner’s office. His various activities call into question the conduct of the campaign. It also appears that the action taken was not legal.
It was decided to dismiss him or give him some other appropriate punishment as the allegations made in the investigation of the departmental case against him were proved. Later, the Public Service Commission (PSC) also agreed with the decision. But Rintu was later given a lenient sentence for postponing his annual salary increase for three years instead of a fine.
DC Kabir of Jamalpur
The government took departmental disciplinary action against the then Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Jamalpur, Ahmed Kabir, for publishing an offensive video with a female office assistant in late August 2019. On August 25 of that year, the Ministry of Public Administration issued an order appointing Ahmed Kabir as Special Officer in Charge (OSD) on the basis of preliminary investigation. At the same time there are departmental cases.
His salary was reduced to the lowest grade for three years after allegations of moral turpitude were proved. On 16 February 2021, a notification was issued by the Ministry of Public Administration with this punishment.
Deputy Secretary Lokman
There were various allegations including threats, false identities and misuse of other officials in the neighborhood of the government residence against Lokman Ahmed. He has had to face departmental cases more than once. The Ministry of Public Administration also suspended Lokman Ahmed on April 15 last year in the wake of a written complaint.
After reviewing the investigation report and related documents, it was decided to convict Lokman on the charge of misconduct and give him severe punishment. He was then given a show cause notice. In response to the notice, it was decided to give Lokman a lenient sentence. Following this, a notification was issued by the Ministry of Public Administration recently and he was given a lenient sentence of ‘lowering the salary grade to a lower level for three years’. At the same time, Lokman’s suspension order was withdrawn.
Punishment for irregularities in lease
Deputy Secretary Nazia Shirin, while she was the Deputy Commissioner of Nilphamari, had entered into an agreement with the lessee in Tepakharibari union of Dimla upazila of the district, noting that the full amount of the lease was obtained by not depositing the check in the bank. On August 13, 2020, a departmental case was filed against him on charges of misconduct and corruption.
The investigating officer in the case mentioned in the report that although the allegations of misconduct against Nazia Shirin were proved, the allegations of corruption were not proved. He was given a light sentence to suspend his pay rise for two years.
He was sentenced on May 11 last year. He was later promoted to joint secretary. Nazia Shirin is now the director of the Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority.
Missing at work without communication
Md. Mahbubur Rab was absent from work when he was working as the Deputy Chief of the Ministry of Commerce. He was telephoned and asked to come to his office regularly but he did not come. He was later instructed to join the office with a show cause notice but did not do so. After being promoted as Deputy Secretary on September 2, 2020, he was ordered to be attached to the Ministry of Commerce on September 10 by the Ministry of Public Administration.
He is absent from work without any communication by sending an application letter on 13 September via e-mail on 13 September without joining in time. Later, a departmental case was filed against him on charges of ‘misconduct’ and ‘escape’. Documents submitted at the hearing of the case, review of the case record proved the allegations against him. On October 16 last year, the Ministry of Public Administration issued a circular with a light sentence called ‘Tirskar’.
Deputy Secretary Mahbubur Rob is now the project director of the historic Central Jail project in Old Dhaka.

Irregularities in land settlement caused loss of money during his tenure as Additional Deputy Commissioner (Revenue) of Natore Natore Sadar UpazilaIftekharul Islam Khan.
Collaborated illegally to settle. In this, the allegation of revenue loss of Tk one crore 26 lakh 9 thousand 512 of the government was proved in the preliminary investigation. Later a departmental case was filed against him.
According to the Ministry of Public Administration, Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Monwar Islam Sarkar was appointed as the investigating officer as there was sufficient basis in the case to give him severe punishment. The allegations against him were proved in the investigation.
Then on 29 December 2020, a notification was issued by the Ministry of Public Administration lowering the salary grade of Iftekharul Islam Khan to the lowest level for one year.
Iftekharul Islam Khan has been the Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, Additional Secretary, Director of BSCIC and Managing Director of Bangladesh Muktijoddha Welfare Trust. He is also retired.
Arifuzzaman was reprimanded
The allegations against Assistant Commissioner Mohammad Arifuzzaman were not keeping in touch with his wife, not giving her dignity, treating her badly, threatening to divorce her and so on. A departmental case was filed against him on these charges. The investigation report of the case was of the opinion that the allegations against him were proved beyond doubt.
According to the investigation report, Arifuzzaman is a man of cunning, violent and complex nature. His behavior is not elegant, he is responsible for all the problems and he has complicated the matter. His activities have tarnished the image of the administration cadre and disturbed the discipline of government offices.
But in the case of punishment, he is unusually flexible. On November 8 last year, the Ministry of Public Administration issued a circular stating that Arifuzzaman was sentenced to life imprisonment.
The marital quarrel took place on the street, but it was later canceled with a light punishment Afroza Begum Parul, currently the Senior Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Industries, was the Additional Deputy Commissioner of Barisal from January 26 to March 18, 2019. At that time, her husband, a member of the administration cadre Abdul Quddus Borhanuddin was in charge of UNO.
According to the Ministry of Public Administration, Parul became a responsible official due to a long-running marital quarrel with her husband, but on March 6, 2019, she stopped her car in front of the Borhanuddin Upazila Engineer’s Office at Abdul Quddus’ workplace and misbehaved. Despite being a responsible official of the government, a case was filed against him for misconduct for tarnishing the image of the administration cadre by disclosing the matter to the public in the streets without trying to resolve the marital dispute in an acceptable manner.
His promotion was suspended for the next two years as per the Disciplinary and Appeal Rules after the allegations were proved.He later applied for reconsideration of the sentence on January 12 last year. In this context, the punishment is reduced and ‘reprimanded’.
Similarly, her husband, senior assistant Abdul Quddus, was given a lenient sentence for “suspending his promotion for two years”. Later, on the basis of reconsideration, it was also rejected and ‘reprimanded’.
Rauf Talukder
Cox’s Bazar senior assistant commissioner Abdur Rauf Talukder (now secretary of a district council) broke the law by concealing information and married a woman named Tamanna Rahim Falguni. Rauf was accused of depriving Falguni of his legal rights as a wife.
He was later investigated on the basis of a departmental case. If the allegation is proved, there could be severe punishment, so the investigation officer of 2019, Munima Hafeez, Joint-Secretary of the Ministry of Public Administration was appointed.
Although the investigation and the evidence proved the allegations, it was decided that the punishment should be light instead of severe. His salary was lowered to a three-year low. He later appealed the sentence. Finally, on March 24 last year, the sentence was further reduced to ‘reprimand’.
Rohingya passports
Kushtia Regional Passport Office of the Department of Immigration and Passports, Assistant Director Muntakim Ibrahim (current workplace Rangamati) disobeyed the instructions of the Ministry of Home Affairs regarding the passport issue and accepted the application outside the jurisdiction. He enrolled the application as a ‘regular’ before the issuance of EG-07136 passport, amended the DCM (Customer Data Management) and approved it as ‘urgent’.
In the case of the passport issue, Muntakim did not properly verify the payment verification and the Rohingya database and printed from the Approval and Odin Personalization Center.
According to a report by the Home Ministry’s Security Services Department, Muntakim, as head of the office, has failed to monitor the ongoing irregularities of his subordinates. The allegations brought against him in the investigation in the context of the departmental case proved beyond doubt. As a result, his salary was reduced to a lower level of the grade. The security services department issued a notification to him on December 23.
Prisoner escapes
Senior Prison Superintendent (current duties) Shafiqul Islam Khan has been working in Chittagong Central Jail since November 6, 2020. Detention on the morning of March 8 last year Farhad Hossain Rubel escaped from prison. In this incident, a departmental case was filed against him alleging ‘misconduct’ as per ‘Government Employees (Discipline and Appeal) Rules-2018’.
According to the report of the Security Services Department, he (Shafiqul Islam) not only showed indifference towards his responsibilities, but also sent a written report to the higher authorities stating that the prisoner was still missing after it was ascertained that he had escaped.
He is being investigated in the context of a departmental case. The investigation proved the allegations against him. He was given a “lenient sentence” by the Department of Security under the Discipline and Appeal Rules. On December 23 last year, a notification was issued by the security services department punishing Shafiqul.

UNO’s demotion
Former Upazila Nirbahi Officer of Gaibandha Sadar (currently assigned to the local government department) Mohammad Shafiqur Rahman has recently been demoted due to corruption in the Guchhagram-Phase II project. At the same time, it has been asked to return the embezzled Tk 43 lakh 33 thousand 360.
According to a notification issued by the Ministry of Public Administration on January 12, a departmental case was filed against him on December 16, 2019 on charges of ‘incompetence’, ‘misconduct’ and ‘corruption’ as per the rules. As the investigation report submitted by the investigating officer on October 5, 2020 proved the allegations against Shafiqur Rahman, it was decided to give him severe punishment as per the rules.
After completing all the procedures, Shafiqur Rahman was demoted to the post of Assistant Commissioner / Assistant Secretary for two years.

The writer is the Associated Editor of Daily Industry

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