Corruption at FMCH: Tk 38 lakh for a set of curtains! | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 27, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:57 AM, November 27, 2019

Corruption at FMCH: Tk 38 lakh for a set of curtains!

ACC to file case against 6 today

Ten crore. That is the amount of money which resulted in the unravelling of numerous money-grab schemes at Faridpur Medical College Hospital (FMCH).

In September 2014, three firms, each owned by one of three brothers, took part in the bidding process for supplying machines and equipment for the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.

The same year, one of the brothers, owner of MS Anik Traders, was awarded the work and he supplied FMCH the required machines and equipment on December 9 and December 20.

The trader then submitted a bill of Tk 10 crore. This was, however, rejected by the health ministry at the last minute for being “inflated”, a source within the Anti-Corruption Commission said.

“It [the trader] charged Tk 28.25 lakh for a set of curtains. The price of such a curtain, used as a bed screen, would be Tk 20,000,” the source said, adding, the prices of most of the machines and equipment were also inflated.

Following the refusal to clear the bill, for the goods which were already supplied, MS Anik Traders in June 2017 moved a petition with the High Court against the Directorate General of Health Services for withholding the payment.

After scrutinising the documents submitted by the DGHS and MS Anik Traders, the HC bench found gross anomalies and directed the ACC to launch an investigation.

On August 20 this year, the HC directed the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to investigate the alleged corruption and submit a report within six months.

The ACC recently led the enquiry and found seven persons involved in the irregularities. It also found that the corruption relating to Tk 10 crore could be the one of many.

Yesterday, the ACC approved the enquiry report and gave its nod to file a case in this regard.

“Tomorrow [today] the ACC will file a case accusing six persons,” said ACC Deputy Director Shamsul Alam.

They are the-then FMCH purchase committee’s Dr Ganopati Biswas, Associate Professor, Dr Minakshi Chakma, junior consultant and pathology department’s Dr AHM Nurul Islam. The other accused are MS Anik Traders owner Munshi Sazzad Hossain, also the administrative officer of the National Institute of Diseases of the Chest and Hospital, one of the owners of the traders Munshi Farrukh Hossain and equipment supplier Abdullah Al Mamun.

The ACC dropped former superintendent Dr Md Omar Faruk Khan from the accused list following his death.

The enquiry by the anti-graft watchdog shone a light on the extent of the corruption.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had allocated Tk 10 crore to FMCH for the 2014-15 fiscal year.

ACC sources said though no doctors, nurse and staff were recruited for the ICU, FMCH’s superintendent office opened a tender to buy machines and equipment for the unit.

The three firms -- Ahmed Enterprise, MS Anik Traders and Ali Traders -- took part in the tender. These were all owned by the three brothers, Sazzad, Farrukh and Mamun.

The tender was opened for supplying equipment, such as oxygen generating plant, automatic scrub station, curtain set, digital blood pressure system, sucker machine, vacuum plant, downstream equipment, BIS monitoring system, head cardiac stethoscope and fiber optic laryngoscope.

FMCH awarded the tender to Anik Traders. But when the DGHS received the bill, it balked at the high quote. 

The DGHS then formed a committee to verify the price.

The committee visited the hospital in October this year and found the machines still lying in the storeroom.

It also verified that the prices of the machines were shown to be several times higher than the market price. Besides, some of machines were not supplied as per the specification.

The investigation also revealed that the hospital authorities had submitted a bill of Tk. 52.66 crore for buying several other machines, but the price there was also inflated as the machines should have cost only Tk 11 crore, said the DGHS committee report.

Contacted, Nurul Islam denied the allegation of the irregularities and said, “I only carried out orders, that’s all.”

The Daily Star could not reach Sazzad, his brothers, or the remaining accused for comments.

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