The lion's share of 96 tonnes of wheat worth Tk over 20 lakh, allocated for development work of 23 institutions in Parbatipur upazila under the district, has been embezzled allegedly by some ruling Awami League (AL) men.
Surprisingly, 10 of the 23 institutions mentioned as beneficiaries were found to be non-existent.
Local lawmaker Md Mostafizur Rahman, also minister for primary and mass education, recently ordered the upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) and project implementation officer (PIO) of Parbatipur to refund the misappropriated money.
The ministry allocated 100 tonnes of wheat against 24 educational institutions and religious organisations in Parbatipur upazila on June 24 and Parbatipur upazila relief office granted 96 tonnes of wheat against 23 institutions of the upazila on June 28, sources said.
Rezaul Karim, general secretary of Parbatipur upazila AL and his aides forced the officials concerned to hand over the grant to them, sources said, adding that the ruling party men sold off the 96 tonnes of wheat for Tk 20.16 lakh.
Of it, 13 institutions and organisations received a total of Tk 1.5 lakh and the remaining amount was embezzled allegedly by the ruling party men, officials said.
"The list of 23 organisations was made as per instruction of the local Awami League leader but later I found that 10 of them were non-existent," said Jahangir Alam, PIO of Parbatipur upazila.
Badsha Ali, president of Ghanashyampur KM Dakhil Madrasa committee, said he received Tk 10,000 against the allocation of five tonnes of wheat worth Tk 1,05,000 for the institution.
Montu Hasda, president of Barokona Adivasi Kali Temple committee, said he received Tk 6,000 against the allotment of four tonnes of wheat worth Tk 84,000.
"There was an allotment for this temple. But I learnt that Bijoy Roy, a ward committee president of Awami League, withdrew five tonnes of wheat, falsely showing himself as president of the temple committee," said Babul Chandra Roy, president of Ramchandrapur Durga Temple committee.
As local lawmaker and Primary and Mass Education Minister Md Mostafizur Rahman learnt the matter of fund embezzlement, he held a closed door meeting with Parbatipur UNO Md Rahenul Islam and PIO Jahangir Alam immediately.
The minister asked for refund of the embezzled amount without delay, said Rahenul Islam.
Rezaul Karim, general secretary of Parbatipur upazila AL, however, blamed the UNO and the PIO for the alleged embezzlement of the fund as they are key persons to distribute any government fund in the upazila.