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Bangladesh - December 26, 2023

Red Crescent becomes center of corruptions

Staff Correspondent: Although it is supposed to work in the service of humanity, Bangladesh Red Crescent Society has become an arena of looting. The officers and employees of the company are now busier with their sugarcane collection than serving the people. Recruitment trade is going on openly in some hospitals under Red Crescent. District units are being dominated by one person as there are no elections for years. Unit affairs department does not have strong monitoring in this regard due to manpower crisis.
The headquarters of Bangladesh Red Crescent Society is located on about 20 bighas of land near Hatirjheel in Dhaka, the capital. Although there are more than three hundred officers and employees here on paper, there is no coordination in the work. One person is given the responsibility of several departments in the post of director. A medical college hospital, a dental college, two eye hospitals, 9 blood donation centers, six maternity hospitals, 56 mother and child welfare centers (MCH), one outdoor clinic, three diploma nursing institutes, two nursing colleges and four midwifery training centers are under the control of the organization across the country. There are institutes. But none of it is going well, said the concerned.
Recently, a study by the anti-corruption organization Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has found that the quality of medical care at Holy Family Red Crescent Hospital in the capital has decreased due to various irregularities and mismanagement. The hospital’s long-standing reputation has been tarnished, resulting in a drop in patient numbers and revenue. Overall, the hospital is gradually becoming a weak institution. The research report mentioned that such a situation has arisen due to the unilateral power and political influence of the Red Crescent Chairman.
In this regard, Director of Holy Family Hospital and Director of Health Department of Red Crescent Headquarters Professor Brigadier General (Retd.) Dr. SM Humayun Kabir said, ‘25 percent of TIB’s research reports can be true. The remaining 75 percent are lies. They did not have any discussion with us before preparing and publishing that report.
Claiming the information about the chairman’s dominance in the hospital as false and purposeful, the director said that the chairman has always helped him after joining here in November 2022. Never obstructed any work.
However, he admitted that there are some irregularities in the activities of the Red Crescent in some parts of the country due to the shortage of manpower.
After investigation, it is known that at least 53 doctors, officials and employees have been appointed in the last 10 years without the approval of the recruitment circular, recruitment committee and executive committee in Jamison Red Crescent Matrusadan Hospital in Chittagong. Among them are doctors who manages the hospital. Eight relatives including Sheikh Shafiul Azam’s daughter, nephew, housekeeper. A recent investigation found various irregularities in the personal files of 23 appointed officers and employees, including fake certificates, understatement of age. Not only that, the case of salary withdrawal without working for years has also come to light. These images have emerged in the internal audit of the company.
The same situation prevails in the various district units of the country as well as in the institutions run by the Red Crescent. On December 4, Fakir Jabbar-Shamima and Munmun Parishad held a press conference on allegations of irregularities and vote rigging in the elections of Red Crescent Society Rajbari district unit. The press conference was held at Rajbari Press Club auditorium. At that time, they demanded recount of votes.
Unit Officer Nasreen Akhter has embezzled Tk 1 lakh 94 thousand of remuneration allowance of youth members of Lakshmipur Red Crescent. Red Crescent youth chief Nizam Uddin Mohan held a press conference on this incident on September 30. Apart from this, the youth members also complained of misappropriation of T-shirt allotted to the members. The general secretary of the district branch of the society, Ismail Hossain Farooq, claims that the complaint is false, but Chairman Bir Muktijoddha Shah Jahan discussed the matter in the executive committee and informed the headquarters.
According to Red Crescent Barguna District Unit sources, ordinary members (annual) and life members are generally included in order to increase the funds of the Red Crescent. Even after collecting forms to become members, many could not become general members and life members because they were not the people of former general secretary Advocate Motaleb Mia. The victims have complained of nepotism and arbitrariness in this regard. It is known that many irregularities and complications have been going on in Gopalganj for a long-time regarding membership.
In Kishoreganj, the life members of the Red Crescent Society did not receive letters for 10 years. The members also disapproved of Secretary Lutfar Rahman Chowdhury Helal for the 2020 executive committee election, accusing him of widespread irregularities. The 2022 committee has also been termed as an illegal committee by the lifetime members. It is said that the office of this unit is locked even on Red Crescent Day.
For a long time, the leaders of the Rangamati district unit have accused massive irregularities, corruption, looting and nepotism against the officials. Apart from this, allegations of rehabilitating party people in the ad hoc committee were also raised against the previous committee. The Secretary General of the Central Headquarters of the Red Crescent was also involved in these activities. The court suspended the proceedings of the illegal committee on a writ petition filed in the High Court challenging the ad hoc committee.
Abdus Sattar, the general secretary of Bangabandhu’s self-confessed murderer Risaldar Musleh Uddin, has been occupying the post of general secretary in Narsingdi for the last 14 years without regard to the rules. Md. Monir Hossain became the ex-officio chairman of the organization after being elected as the chairman of Zilla Parishad. He then made a written complaint to the Central Chairman for taking action against various past irregularities, corruption, nepotism, arbitrariness and illegal activities of the unit. Six months have passed since the complaint but no action has been taken in this regard. Expressing anger, the chairman said that since then he has stopped coming and going to this institution.
Najma Parveen, Director of Unit Affairs of the Red Crescent Headquarters told that Deputy Director Kabir Fakir and Noor Shikder have been assigned the responsibility to investigate the matter. Kabir Fakir told him that after talking to GM Taleb, the district Awami League president, he was convinced that Abdus Sattar, the general secretary of the Red Crescent, was not the accomplice of Bangabandhu’s killer. However, while he was in exile, his house was rented by murderer Risaldar Musleh Uddin.
When Narsingdi District Awami League President GM Taleb was contacted, he told that he had not spoken to any official of the Red Crescent in this regard.
Kabir Fakir, Deputy Director of Unit Affairs, admitted that the same person has been in power for 25 to 30 years in different units of the country. He said, “We have less manpower here, so monitoring is not possible.”
Regarding the duty of general secretary of Narsingdi unit for 14 years, the shelter of Bangabandhu’s self-confessed murderer Risaldar Musleh Uddin, he said, they informed the higher authorities after learning that Risaldar Musleh Uddin used to stay in his house.

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