JKG Health Care: Dr Sabrina held over fake Covid certificates | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 13, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:44 AM, July 13, 2020

JKG Health Care: Dr Sabrina held over fake Covid certificates

Police yesterday arrested JKG Health Care Chairman Dr Sabrina Arif Chowdhury, also a government official, over issuing fake Covid-19 test reports, about three weeks after the scam came to light.

Meanwhile, the health ministry suspended Sabrina from the post of registrar at the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases for violating rules.

Sheikh Muzibur Rahman, additional secretary of the Health Services Division, confirmed this to The Daily Star.

According to the ministry's order, she was suspended for professional misconduct -- holding the post of chairman of a private organisation while in public service -- and also corruption allegations.

As asked by the investigators, Sabrina went to the office of the deputy commissioner of DMP's Tejgaon Division around 1:00pm yesterday.

"During the three-hour questioning, she could not give any satisfactory answers. We showed her arrested in the fraudulence case," Harun-Ur-Rashid, the DMP deputy commissioner, told journalists at his office yesterday afternoon.

Sabrina had earlier talked to the media as a spokesperson for the private organisation. As a government official, she cannot be the chairman of any such entity, the official pointed out.

She, however, has denied holding the post since the scam surfaced.

"All the arrestees in the case said Sabrina is the chairman of JKG Health Care. She cannot avoid her responsibility for what happened …," the DC mentioned.

Asked why it took so long to arrest her, he said the investigation officer was gathering information on her.

Police said they would produce Sabrina before court today and seek her remand for questioning.

Earlier on June 24, police had arrested her husband and JKG Chief Executive Officer Ariful Chowdhury and four others for their alleged involvement in issuing fake Covid test reports.

The four are -- Humayun Kabir and his wife Tanzina Patwary, Sayeed Chowdhury and Al Mamun.

Humayun and Tanzina are former employees of JKG Health Care while Sayeed and Al Mamun still work there.

Md Mahmud Khan, assistant commissioner of DMP's Tejgaon Zone, said Humayun, a graphic designer, prepared fake Covid test reports by duplicating official pads of the DGHS and the IEDCR.

"We have found fake IEDCR pads on JKG Health Care's laptops," said the police official.

If the coronavirus patient was a local, he or she would have to pay Tk 5,000 for a fake report. For a foreign national, the charge was $100, Mahmud said.

Four cases have already been filed against JKG Health Care on various charges including fraudulence.

Earlier on Saturday, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) cancelled the permission for JKG Health Care to collect samples over allegations of irregularities and corruption.

Yesterday, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said Regent Hospital owner Mohammad Shahed, allegedly involved in Covid test report scam, has no way to flee the country.

"Shahed has to surrender, otherwise he will be arrested… There is no way he can flee the country as his passport has been seized," he told reporters after a meeting at his ministry.

NBR'S DIRECTIVE

The National Board of Revenue yesterday directed banks to freeze the accounts of Shahed, Ariful, Sabrina and Regent Hospital Director Ibrahim Khalil.

It also ordered freezing the accounts of Regent Hospital, Regent KCS Ltd and JKG Health Care.

The tax authority asked the banks concerned to provide it with information on all those accounts.

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