N95 Mask Probe: ACC quizzes officials of two firms | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 09, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:56 AM, July 09, 2020

N95 Mask Probe: ACC quizzes officials of two firms

The Anti-Corruption Commission is now cross-checking procurement-related documents and statements made by JMI Hospital Requisite Manufacturing Ltd Chairman Abdur Razzak before it over allegations of supplying poor quality masks, PPEs, and other medical equipment to the government.

Yesterday, ACC Director Mir Md Zainul Abedin Shebly separately quizzed Razzak and Motiur Rahman, coordinator (medical team) of Toma Construction Ltd, for about six hours to glean information from them.

On July 1, the ACC director had summoned Razzak, Motiur and chairman of Elan Corporation Aminul Islam Amin to appear before it for interrogation over the allegations.

Aminul, already accused in a case filed by the Directorate General of Drug Administration over importing substandard KN-95 masks, did not appear before the graft watchdog citing illness.

Aminul sought time to appear before the commission, said ACC Public Relations Officer Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya.

Wishing anonymity, an ACC director said they recorded statements of Razzak and Motiur yesterday. After completing quizzing of all the people concerned, the commission would cross-check the statements to identify those behind the corruption.

Today, the ACC will grill the director of Meditech Imaging, Humayun Kabir, and Dhaka Central International Medical College and Hospital Chairman Motazzerul Islam Mithu, also the owner of Lexicon Merchandize and Technocrat.

The controversy over the mask supply came to the fore in early April when health professionals in various hospitals were questioning the quality of respirators, with some resorting to social media to vent their frustration.

With the complaints over poor quality respirators surfacing, the Central Medical Store Depot (CMSD), the government body that sources medical supplies, withdrew the masks received from JMI Hospital Requisite MFG Ltd.

It also served a show-cause notice to the company.

In an official statement, the JMI then said it was a packaging mistake.

Later, a government probe body found that JMI supplied "research-stage N95 masks" manufactured with "unapproved imported raw materials" against the demand for regular ones.

But the committee did not say what steps should be taken against the supplier.

Earlier, ruling party lawmaker Ekramul Karim Chowdhury, also a member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, urged Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to abolish "Mithu Syndicate" of the health sector. He blamed the syndicate for the mismanagement in the sector.

On a Facebook Live video from his verified account on June 22, the lawmaker said the "Mithu Syndicate" has brought the whole health ministry under their control. And that's why people were not getting proper health care services.

On June 18, the ACC formed a committee to probe into the allegations of corruption in the procurement N-95 mask, PPE, and other safety gears.

After formation of the probe committee, ACC Chairman Iqbal Mahmood said anyone found involved in corruption would be brought to book.

 

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