Senior secretary pulled strings
Sacked ACC officer Sharif Uddin said the senior secretary of a ministry, who had links to the land acquisition scammers in Cox's Bazar, used his influence to get him fired from his job.
The sacked deputy assistant director of Anti-Corruption Commission told The Daily Star yesterday that he found in his investigation that Cox's Bazar Municipality Mayor Mujibur Rahman played a key role in a syndicate that stole Tk 78 crore from government projects through forgery.
Involvement of top administration and police officials in the district was found in the investigation.
The senior secretary was linked to the aforesaid individuals, Sharif said, adding that the bureaucrat made sure that officials working at the ACC on deputation slowed down his investigation.
Sharif said the senior secretary who is from a southern district previously served as the secretary of Election Commission.
The land acquisition scammers have the senior secretary's blessings, said a local lawmaker, adding that the secretary, who may retire this year, wants to take part in the next national election as an Awami League nominee.
Sharif said the secretary used his power to make officials concerned approve forged documents of land ownership and pay money to individuals who did not actually own the lands acquired by the government.
The ACC recently launched a fresh investigation into the land acquisition scam. Contacted on February 19, Jahurul Haque, commissioner (investigation) of the ACC, said he could not remember why a fresh investigation was being done in the case.
Sharif, whose investigations often made headlines, was sacked on February 16 without prior notice. His termination caused much speculation, especially since he filed a general diary mentioning threats over his life just days before he lost his job.
Sharif said the senior secretary, Mayor Mujibur, and a former deputy commissioner of Cox's Bazar met ACC Commissioner (enquiry) Mozammel Haque Khan several times to get him sacked.
Several ACC officials in the capital said they saw the aforesaid individuals meet Mozammel at his office.
Sharif said some of the individuals found involved in his investigation met Mozammel on February 12 in Chattogram where Mozammel went to attend an event organised by Bangladesh Scouts.
This correspondent yesterday called Mozammel several times and texted him, asking for his comment on the allegations. He neither received the calls nor replied to the text.
Contacted over the phone around 6:00pm yesterday, Mayor Mujibur said he would call back this correspondent regarding the allegations after a meeting he was at.
Mujib switched off his two phone numbers after the meeting ended around 7:00pm.
This newspaper published several reports in 2020 and 2021 on the land acquisition scam in Cox's Bazar where the government has acquired thousands of acres of land. The scammers stole around Tk 78 crore from three projects with forged documents of land ownership.
In June, 2021, the senior secretary lodged complaints with the ACC, accusing Sharif of obstructing the implementation of government projects.