The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on Tuesday visited the Chattogram Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa) office and collected papers related to ghost overtime of Chattogram Wasa employees.
The ACC said they collected the documents as part of an investigation.
A three-member ACC team led by Assistant Director Zafaor Ahmed visited the Chattogram Wasa around 11am and left at 1pm. ACC Deputy Assistant Director Md Nurul Islam and Constable Feroz were with Zafaor.
Md Nurul Islam, deputy director of ACC Chattogram, told The Business Standard the ACC team talked to some Chattogram Wasa officers, including Deputy Managing Director (administration) Golam Hossain, about ghost overtimes and collected some related documents.
Golam Hossain told The Business Standard, "The ACC team came in the morning for investigation and stayed for around two hours. They took some papers from us."
Lutful Kabir Chandan, ACC deputy director and spokesperson, told The Business Standard an enforcement team of the ACC visited Chattogram Wasa.
On October 29, The Business Standard published an investigative report titled "Ghost overtime costing Chattogram Wasa". The report said Chattogram Wasa's pump operators are showing that they are working for around 29 hours in a 24-hour day.
Moreover, they are showing over time in closed pumps as well and withdrawing big sums in overtime payments.
Every year, Chattogram Wasa has to spend around Tk5.19 crore in overtime payments and around Tk4.16 crore to pay wages for running its operation (booster station, water treatment plant, four water distributional mods and water pumps).
As per the news report, many Chattogram Wasa pump operators are showing that they are working 200 hours in a month and earning double their wage from overtime.
The Business Standard investigation found that 49 Chattogram Wasa employees, including pump operators, electricians, helpers, cleaners and lab assistants, have been withdrawing big sums in overtime at the booster station of Sheikh Hasina Water Treatment Plant, Mod 1, 2, 3 and 4.
In July this year, three employees named Wahidur Rahman, Akhter Hamid Khan and Gias Uddin Murshed of Pump 4 on Khaja Road in Bahaddarhat submitted bills for 376 hours of overtime along with regular duty of 528 hours.
This means they worked 904 hours in a single month or 29 hours every day.
Mod 3 documents showed 49 of its permanent employees worked for around 5,820 hours every month in overtime, which translates into Tk8.38 lakh while their basic salary is Tk7.37 lakh.
The report revealed the same condition at Bahaddarhat booster station in July 2019. Chattogram Wasa paid Tk3,02,600 in salaries and Tk3,31,168 in overtime payments of 20 staff members.
In July last year, Chattogram Wasa's salary expenditure was Tk2,77,350 and overtime payment was Tk3,28,286 for the booster station staff. A year earlier in the same month, the expenditure for salary was Tk2,64,480 and that for overtime was Tk3,40,758.
Chattogram Wasa paid Tk4,80,261 in overtime while the total salary of 34 employees of Sheikh Hasina Water Treatment Plant was Tk4,52,740 in July 2018. In July this year, Chattogram Wasa spent Tk4,98, 779 for overtime payments while the salary was Tk4,75,050.
Earlier, 229 permanent employees of Chattogram Wasa were running 94 water pumps (deep tube-wells), booster stations and treatment plants. Here, on average, overtime pay was Tk30.75 lakh every month in the fiscal year 2015-16.
In 2016, Chattogram Wasa hired 155 people as outsourcers to reduce the amount of unusual overtime which cost Tk18.60 lakh per month.
Chattogram Wasa closed 53 water pumps since then but the overtime bills have not stopped.
In 2016-17, overtime payments per month amounted to Tk30.75 lakh. In 2018-19, it was Tk34.67 lakh.