The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has interrogated the former health secretary Asadul Islam–who currently serves as senior secretary in the planning ministry–as part of its enquiry into corruption in the country's health sector.
A high-level team, led by Sayeed Mahbub Khan, questioned Asadul Islam from 10am to 11am at his office in the capital on Monday.
During the interrogation, ACC Director Mir Mohammad Zainul Abedin Shebli, the head of N95 mask-PPE scam probe team; ACC Director Sheikh Md Fanafillah, the head of Regent scam probe team; and ACC Deputy Director Selina Akhter Moni, the head of JKG probe team, were present.
Since the outbreak of the [novel] coronavirus, health ministry officials have been criticised by different quarters. Also, issues of corruption in the sector have been exposed.
In the wake of questions about the purchase of substandard personal protective equipment (PPE) and N-95 masks, former Central Medical Stores Depot (CMSD) director Brigadier General Mohammad Shahidullah was taken back from CMSD to the army headquarters on May 23.
On May 30, Shahidullah wrote a letter to the public administration secretary. In the letter, he requested that the entire healthcare sector, including CMSD be made "syndicate-free."
He also provided information about a syndicate among government authorities and the suppliers–contractors–that control the CMSD's procurement process.
Shahidullah has since died of Covid-19.
In mid-July former DG of the health directorate Prof Dr Abul Kalam Azad claimed that the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) had signed an agreement with Regent Hospital on the verbal instructions of the former health secretary Asadul Islam.
He also named the ex-secretary during the interrogation by the ACC teams, sources of ACC told The Business Standard.
On June 4, the government transferred Asadul Islam from Health Services Division to Planning Division of the Planning Ministry. In the meantime, he was promoted to senior secretary.
Huge changes to the health sector occurred, including to the ministry and DGHS.
ACC sources said, as the administrative chief of the health services division, former secretary of the division Asadul Islam was interrogated. The enquiry teams of the anti-graft body questioned him about different issues related to the enquiry.
However, after the interrogation, the ACC team did not provide any official comment to the media.