Amid the coronavirus crisis, Union Parishad (UP) chairmen of Mehendiganj and Muladi upazilas in Barishal have allegedly stolen money and rice that the government allocated for poor fishermen.
Two written complaints were separately filed against the duo.
The accused are Kazi Shahidul Islam, Andarmanik UP chairman of Mehendiganj upazila and Abu Hasnat Japan, Najirpur UP chairman of Muladi upazila.
Officer-in-charge (OC) of Kazirhat police station Anisul Islam said, Mehendiganj upazila Fisheries Officer Shimul Rani Pal filed a written complaint with the police station on Monday against Kazi Shahidul Islam for allegedly stealing the rice that the government allocated for poor fishermen.
The written complaint said that Kazi Shahidul was supposed to distribute 40 kg rice for one month to each of 723 fishermen. But On April 9, he distributed 30 kg of rice per head to 384 fishermen, stealing a total of 2,840 kg rice.
The OC Anisul Islam also said, "Usually the Anti-Corruption-Commission investigates such issue. So we will forward the complaint to the district office of the commission."
UP chairman of Muladi upazila Abu Hasnat Japan has allegedly embezzled 395 metric tonnes of rice allocated for the enlisted fishermen. Also, he reportedly took Tk100 from each fisherman using the pretext of rice transport cost. He misappropriated a total of Tk2 lakh 47 thousand in 16 months.
Jabul Hossain, a fisherman of Najirpur union, said: "There are 309 enlisted fishermen in the union. UP chairman of Muladi upazila Abu Hasnat Japan got allocation for 48 months. But he distributed rice to the fishermen for just 16 months. Abu Hasnat embezzled 395 metric tonnes of rice allocated for other 32 months."
Eight fishermen of Najirpur union including Ali Azam, Kabir Shikder, Moqbul filed a written complaint to Upazila Nirbahi Officer Shuvra Das against the chairman on Monday.
Shuvra said, "We received the written complain. Senior Fisheries Officer of the upazila Mahmudul Hasan was tasked with investigating the issue. He was asked to submit the probe report within seven working days."
But when asked about the irregularity, Abu Hasnat, as expected, denied the allegations against him. "Rice was distributed among the fishermen in the right way. There were no irregularities in it."