A recent ACC report has found the Public Works Department (PWD) entirely responsible for the financial anomalies at the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant project. Earlier, two probe committees formed by the ministry found anomalies involving Tk 36.4 crore in purchasing furniture and other household items for the officials of the plant in Pabna in the now well-known and much-talked-about pillow saga. According to ACC’s report, the ministry’s approval is needed for the implementation of big projects costing over Tk 30 crore. So, to obviate the need for the ministry’s approval, the PWD officials divided some of the projects into small packages and itself approved and appointed the contractors.
Now that the ACC has revealed its investigation report, in which it has identified 15 sources of corruption in PWD, including giving work order to preferred construction firms, dividing big projects into small packages, allocating crores of taka for repair and maintenance work, unnecessarily increasing the project costs to embezzle money, taking bribes, etc., it is time to take departmental and legal action against the corrupt officials of the PWD, up and down the channel.
However, although the ACC report has found no involvement of the ministry in the anomalies, we feel that every ministry has a responsibility to exercise oversight of the various directorates and departments under them to prevent the kind of glaring corruption we saw in Rooppur Power Plant. As for the Ministry of Housing & Public Works, it must enforce transparency and accountability in implementing the much talked-about project by close monitoring of the activities of the project director and the management team as there is extensive scope of corruption in all stages. The recommendations made by the ACC should be taken cognizance of.