POST TIME: 22 July, 2019 12:31:43 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 22 July, 2019 04:00:35 PM
HC wants to see action on graft
Rooppur housing project

HC wants to see action on graft

The High Court (HC) has sought action by the housing and public works ministry against 50 people involved in misappropriating Tk. 36.40 crore from the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP) project. The HC expressed satisfaction over the investigation report that found 50 people’s involvement in misappropriating Tk. 36.40 crore from the project in purchasing furniture and other household items for its officials and other employees.

Deputy attorney-general Amatul Karim submitted the probe report before the HC bench of Justice Tariq ul Hakim and Justice Md Shohrowardi in line with its previous directive. During yesterday’s (Sunday’s) proceedings, Supreme Court lawyer, barrister Sayedul Haque Suman, who filed a writ petition with the HC over the matter, told the HC that he was satisfied with the probe report.

The authorities should take departmental action against the offenders as well as file criminal cases against them

for committing misappropriation in a sensitive project, the lawyer said.

Attorney-general Mahbubey Alam told the court that the probe body has already identified the officials involved in misappropriating project money. “Now, we can see what action the authorities concerned take against them for the offences,” he added.

Then, the HC bench came up with its order, saying that it would like to see the action of the authorities in this respect in line with the probe report.

It also set October 20 for the next order over the matter.

In their reports, the two probe committees—formed to investigate the alleged graft in the RNPP housing project—have found evidence of Tk. 36.40 crore being misappropriated.

They also detected the involvement of 50 people, of whom eight are engineers of the public works department (PWD)—including the already-withdrawn executive engineer Md Masudul Alam—in the scam, and recommended punishment for them.

A former chief engineer, who is on a one-year post-retirement leave (PRL), is also among the eight officials.

The probe bodies—one belonging to the PWD and the other to the public works ministry—mentioned their findings and placed several recommendations.

The reports said as per the agreement with the housing project authorities, the contractors were supposed to charge nearly Tk. 113.62 crore to supply furniture and electronic gadgets to several floors of four 20-storey buildings.

But the furniture articles and electronic gadgets supplied were worth around Tk. 77.22 crore, some Tk. 36.4 crore less than the estimated sum of money.

The investigation committees also recommended proper measures to recover and deposit the “misappropriated” money in the national coffers.

The committees were formed on May 19, three days after a media outlet reported on cost-related anomalies in the housing project called Green City, of the RNPP project in Iswardi upazila of Pabna.

Following a writ petition, the HC on July 2 this year asked the attorney-general’s office to collect the report of the committees formed by the housing and public works ministry on the irregularities in purchasing furniture and other household items for officials and other employees of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant and to submit it before the court in two weeks.

The court also issued a rule asking the government to explain in four weeks why it has failed to ensure honesty and transparency in the purchases of the furniture and other household items for the officials and employees at the power plant.

According to reports in the media as well as social media, the purchase prices of various items to furnish the project’s 966 apartments for the Russian engineers and others were abnormally higher than the market prices.

The reports claimed that each pillow was bought for Tk. 5,957 and the cost of carrying it to an apartment was Tk. 760. An electric stove cost Tk. 7,747 and the carrying cost from the ground floor to the top floor was Tk. 6,650.

The reports also said the price of an electric iron was Tk. 4,154 and the carrying cost was Tk. 2,945. Media reports also said the salary of the project director was Tk. 4.96 lakh.