ACC seeks information from top health bosses on masks, PPE purchase
The Anti-Corruption Commission has sent letters to the secretary of the Health Services Division, director general of Directorate General of Health Services and director of Central Medical Stores Depot in this regard
An enquiry team from the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is in the field to dig into allegations of corruption in purchasing masks and PPE.
The anti-graft body sent letters on Sunday to the secretary of the Health Services Division, director general of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) and director of Central Medical Stores Depot (CMSD) in this regard.
In those letters, a director of ACC and head of the enquiry team Mir Mohammad Zainul Abedin Shebly requested officials concerned to send required information and documents within June 30.
Sources said the ACC sought information from the Health Services Division regarding purchase of masks, personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitisers, ICU equipment, ventilators, PCR machines, Covid-19 test kits and other health equipment since the Covid-19 pandemic started in March this year.
The ACC also sought information and documents from departments concerned regarding the projects, allotted money, and the organisation which implemented these projects.
The anti-graft body also sought attested copies of resolutions related documents if any action was taken against organisations including the JMI Hospital Requisite Manufacturing Ltd over alleged corruption.
It also sought information about doctors who have been transferred since March 26 this year and a list of details including their previous and present workstations and contact numbers.
ACC Chairman Iqbal Mahmood said, "We are maintaining a tough stance against corruption in the health sector. We hope that the departments concerned will help us by providing required information and documents within the time frame."
He also said the ACC wants to identify the criminals through a detailed enquiry and bring them to justice no matter who they are.
Last Thursday, the ACC formed a four-member team to enquire into allegations of corruption over the purchase of N95 masks and PPE.
The committee – headed by ACC Director Mir Zainul Abedin Shebly – is comprised of Deputy Director Nurul Huda, and two assistant directors Saiduzzaman and Ataur Rahman.
In the first week of April, a social media storm erupted over allegations of a supply of substandard masks to several state-run hospitals instead of N95 masks.
Senior health ministry officials came under criticism as they tried to term the incident a "mistake" without conducting an investigation.
On April 20, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in a video conference expressed annoyance over the controversy and ordered a probe into the matter. The Health Services Division formed a probe committee that very day to investigate the allegations.
M Saidur Rahman, additional secretary (development) to the Health Services Division, headed that committee. The committee submitted its report on April 29.
According to the report, supplier JMI delivered research-stage N95 labelled masks instead of normal masks demanded by the CMSD. Those masks were made from unauthorised imported material.
The report also suggested that the authorities take action against the officials who had received the products labelled as N95 masks without informing the CMSD director.