Prices of equipment purchased at Sheikh Hasina Medical College in Habiganj, as this newspaper reported on Wednesday, have been exceptionally high without any explanation. For example, Tk 35 lakh has been spent to buy 450 anatomical charts for Tk 7,800 each supplied by a Dhaka-based company. Whereas they should have cost at most Tk 2,179.80 each only, even if they were of the highest quality. But that is not all. The invoice for computers, printers, projectors, weighing machines, furniture, books, and anatomical models submitted by two suppliers to the college authorities show unusually high prices compared to market rates. And this newspaper even managed to obtain the documents and bills submitted to the college showing the questionable prices.
Among the committee members responsible for signing the minutes of the meetings that approved the tender process for the purchase, one member was not invited to the meetings. And another who did sign, refused to take responsibility for corruption, if there was any.
This sort of behaviour is completely unacceptable. It is obvious that crores of taka were overspent to procure the equipment, and the money came from the public exchequer. The college authorities cannot shy away from irresponsibly spending public money like this—nor for corruption, which is the most likely explanation for such astronomically absurd prices.
We are informed that the Anti-Corruption Commission in Habiganj has started a primary inquiry into the alleged irregularities in the purchase process of the college. We call on the authorities to thoroughly investigate the matter and hold those responsible to account.