Tk 2,000 table for Tk 25,000!

Hili Correspondent
Published : 07:30, Nov 14, 2019 | Updated : 07:30, Nov 14, 2019

Allegation of rampant corruption and irregularity has surfaced against the health and family planning official of Nawabganj Upazila Health Complex in Dinajpur who reportedly bought tables for the health complex for Tk 2,000 each while the voucher showed Tk 25,000 for each table.
Dr Khairul Islam who heads the health complex has been accused of embezzling Tk 700,000 from funds allocated for medicine, cleaning and purchase of dengue health kits.
According to Nawabganj Upazila Health Complex and upazila bookkeeping offices, Tk 200,000 was allocated for five tables, four footstools and a secretary table.
Dr Khairul Islam allegedly withdrew the money by presenting vouchers from one Messrs Bidyut Traders in Hakimpur Upazila which showed each regular table cost Tk 25,000 while the secretary table cost Tk 75,000.
However, owner of Bidyut Traders Md Shafiqul Islam says that he hasn’t supplied any furniture to the health complex.
Meanwhile, the owner of Belal Furniture located right in front of the complex says that he supplied five tables to Khairul Islam on Oct 19.
“I charged Tk 2,200 for each table and 1,200 for each foorstool,” owner Belal Hossain told Bangla Tribune.
On Sept 1, Islam allegedly withdrew Tk 1,66,000 from the Tk 200,000 allocated to the health complex during the dengue outbreak.
He withdrew the money by showing vouchers of purchasing over 250 dengue kits in three phases between Sept 1 and Sept 5 from Incepta Pharmaceuticals as well as six vouchers for purchasing medicines.
Local Incepta Pharmaceuticals Gouranga Roy told Bangla Tribune that their company neither produces nor supplies dengue kits.
Saying that he did supply medicines like paracetamols and He [Khairul Islam] purchased medicines like Paracetamols and saline worth Tk 97,000 in two vouchers, he added “The upazila health officer did make me sign seven blank vouchers saying he had to withdraw bills.”
Several employees at the complex said that during the 2018-19 fiscal year, Tk 520,000 was allocated for cleaning purposes.
Of the total amount, Islam allegedly embezzled Tk 431,000 through fake vouchers after paying off Tk 88,400 in taxes and VATs and miscellaneous bills.
Nawabganj Upazila Project implementation employee Md Refaul Azam told Bangla Tribune that under the cleaning project, the upazila health complex was cleaned as well.
According to the vouchers shown, Khairul Islam allocated Tk 15,000 each for the cleaning of the upazila’s Aftabganj, Bhaduria and Daudpur sub-health centres.
However, officials of the three centres said that they received no money from Islam.
On Feb 7, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) allocated Tk 72,000 for purchase of medical equipments.
Three vouchers from Rubina Pharmacy in Birampur Upazila showed purchase of 120 BP machines. A spot visit to the area showed that the pharmacy does not exist.
The health complex’s acting store keeper Noor-e-Alam Siddiqui and Medical Technologists Mahmud Sharif complained that the dengue kits and BP machines were not submitted to them and Islam forced them to sign the ledger.
The same year the DGHS allocated Tk 77,000 for the sub centres and medicine purchase. Islam allegedly withdrew nearly Tk 25,000 each against three sub-centres and three community clinics.
Aftabganj subcentre Deputy Community Medical Officer Md Tozammel Hoque and Daudpur’s Dilbar Hossain said that they didn’t receive any medicines.
They said that Islam allegedly pressured them into signing blank papers but they didn’t comply.
The officers of the community clinics said that they didn’t receive medicines but Tk 10,000 in cash each but they were each forced to sign vouchers worth nearly Tk 25,000.
In addition to being involved in rampant graft, he reportedly misbehaved with the nurses and staff and threatened anyone who didn’t comply to his illegal orders.
Khairul Islam took charge of the Nawabganj Upazila Health Complex in September last year and although he is supposed to pay Tk 13,800 for rent he has been paying only Tk 1,380 for the rent of one seat. Moreover, his living quarter has an air conditioner.
Responding to queries, Khairul told Bangla Tribune that he was completely new at the job.
“I’ve never been in charge of a health complex. Hence I did everything as per the advice of the higher authorities and the health complex’s office secretary Samar Kumar Dev,” he said.
Although he declined misbehaving with the nurses, he hasn’t been able to give proper answers for queries on the tables and dengue kits.
On the air conditioner in his home, he said that he brought it from the hospital at the request of the employees.
Meanwhile, Office Secretary Dev told Bangla Tribune that he hasn’t given Islam advice for any illegal activity and he himself was pressured into doing illegal work.
“Dr Khairul told me that the bills will be cashed. That’s when the medicines will be purchased. I don’t know if it was purchased,” he said.
Dinajpur Civil Surgeon Dr Abdul Kuddus told Bangla Tribune that a probe panel will be formed to look into the allegations against Islam and measures will be initiated likewise.