12:00 AM, April 14, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 14, 2009

Wasa bigwigs 'forced' to quit

Graft allegations found

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Tawfique Ali

Chairman and Managing Director (MD) of Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa) allegedly resigned under pressure from the government, Wasa official sources said.
The MD was forced to resign for indulging in corruption, irregularities and nepotism, sources added.
Wasa Chairman Abdullah Harun Pasha and its MD Maj (Retd) Raihanul Abedin tendered their resignations on April 8 last.
Engineer Dr Golam Mostafa was appointed as the chairman of Wasa the next day.
Raihanul (MD) was called in the local government rural development and cooperatives (LGRD) ministry on April 8 and asked to resign immediately, said official sources.
Joint Secretary (Water Supply) to the LGRD ministry Shahjahan Ali Mollah said that he was not aware of any government pressure for resignation.
A new MD might be appointed within the current week, said Mollah, adding that the government will appoint the MD as per the proposal of the Wasa Board chairman.
“I resigned on personal and health ground,” said Abedin while Pasha said, “I resigned thinking that the new government would need a new set-up for the organisation.”
The allegations against Abedin include occupying a palatial residential house of Wasa, corruption and nepotism in appointment, promotion and transfer; unauthorised use of official transport; use of staff for personal purposes.
He has allegedly recruited 331 fourth and third-class employees on muster roll in exchange for bribes and because they were all from greater Comilla region, as he himself hails from Chandpur.
Two deputy managing directors out of four, two additional chief engineers, two out of ten superintending engineers and most of those on muster roll are from greater Comilla, added sources.
The MD is entitled to use one vehicle while Abedin used two for his family members at the cost of Wasa.
Regarding the house he occupied Abedin said, as per the Wasa act of 1996 chief executive of the organisation is entitled to it.
But as per the act the chairman of the Wasa is the chief executive not the MD, officials said.
He claimed that he took initiatives during the caretaker government to retrieve a six-bigha palatial house of Wasa in Gulshan, which had been rented out to people without any legal authority.
“A government residential house cannot be rented out,” he added.
As for the unauthorised use of transport Abedin said, “It has been a practice for long.”
Regarding recruitment he said employees were appointed on the basis of merit. Wasa was expanded from six to 11 zones during his tenure and it was in need of more manpower, which is still staff-starved.
Abedin got a three-year contractual appointment to Wasa in August 2007 during the caretaker government regime.

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