Probe re-opened into ICT project for multimedia classroom graft

SM Abbas
Published : 13:36, Dec 04, 2019 | Updated : 13:37, Dec 04, 2019

A general view of Shikkha Bhaban in Dhaka. GOOGLE MAPSThe education ministry has re-opened probe into allegations of nearly Tk 1 billion being embezzled out of an ICT project for setting up multimedia classrooms.
The Secondary and Higher Education Division launched the investigation on Nov 18 with a three member panel.
On Nov 25, Dr Prabir Kumar Bhattacharya, director (training), Secondary and Higher Education Division, who is heading the committee, wrote to Project Director Abdus Sabur Khan asking for information.
According to sources, the first probe panel led by Secondary and Higher Education Director Abdul Mannan, submitted a report within four months of investigation as a broad sheet.
The entire report was not submitted to the ministry and it was said that no allegation of graft was found.
He had said that the project director was “inexperienced,” and it was important to stick to government rules in order to spend the allocated funds.
According to sources, the broad sheet was sent for the Cabinet Division and the report kept hidden to save project director Khan and the new committee was part of the cover-up.
Allegations of graft and irregularities rose against Khan after nearly Tk 1 billion was embezzled out of the ICT project.
Certificates and books worth Tk 11.6 million were reportedly printed without calling any tenders while prizes worth Tk 5.3 million and training materials worth Tk 17 million were also purchased without a quotation.
Moreover, Tk 2.4 million was cleared as delivery cost of the materials to the training venues.
Investigations found that the funds were withdrawn from the local accounts and sent to the project offices through a private account.
Moreover, training implementation was shown a hundred percent although the training of all batches in the training centres did not take place and the amount was returned to the private bank account.
Although there is no scope of venue or room charge during government trainings, Tk 190 million was shown as venue charge, room charge, internet and miscellaneous expenses.
Nearly Tk 280 million was cleared for 5,917 in-house teacher training course in 100 upazilas of 36 districts and although 120,000 manuals and certificates were ordered, the trainings were completed without them.