Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) officials admitted negligence and irregularities in the construction and maintenance of embankments in Sunamganj haor that eroded in early flash floods about a year ago, the ACC DG claimed yesterday.
“We've been able to find through our quizzing that in the construction of embankments, Bangladesh Water Development Board showed gross negligence,” Muhammad Munir Chowdhury, director general of Anti- Corruption Commission, told reporters at his office.
BWDB officials also admitted of irregularities in implementation of projects under which the embankments were constructed, Munir added.
The ACC boss told these after he led the quizzing of BWDB DG Jahangir Kabir, Additional DG Abdul Hai Baqui, Superintendent Engineer Harun ur Rashid and Chief Engineer Abdul Hai.
Three other government officials BWDB Additional Chief Engineer Nurul Islam, Executive Engineer Akhtar Uddin and water resources ministry's Joint Secretary Khalilur Rahman were also quizzed yesterday as part of the same investigation.
For years, embankments in hoar areas have been damaged by floodwater, submerging low-lying areas and affecting crops. Locals often blame negligence and corruption in the construction of the embankments.
The ACC sent a letter to the water resources ministry in April last year when the eroded embankments gave way to floodwater. It asked the ministry to investigate the matter. The ministry was also asked to submit a report in this regard within 10 working days.
The ministry, in its reply sent to the ACC in the last week of February this year, said the embankments were damaged by rats making holes. The commission didn't find the reply satisfactory.
The seven government officials were summoned for questioning regarding the matter.
“We're doing our own enquiry. We'll follow the next legal steps,” Munir said, adding that BWDB failed to monitor the construction of embankment.
"It's too early to say whether any graft had taken place at the time," he said.
A total of 2.72 lakh people have been affected by the devastating flash flood in haor areas of Sunamganj this year due to damages of embankments.
Wishing anonymity, an ACC official said had the ministry taken necessary steps last year following the ACC's enquiry, the devastation would not have taken place this year.
On May 2, BWDB suspended three engineers over allegations of corruption in building and repairing embankments in the haor region.