Sports Ministry Promotions: Political govt, thus political consideration
Nazrul Islam joined the Department of Youth Development under the youth and sports ministry in an entry-level post in 1990. He had topped the list in the recruitment test. After 15 years of "satisfactory" performance, he was regularised in 2005.
Now an assistant upazila youth development officer, he has a clean service record.
On a list of 1,175 officers selected for higher posts, Nazrul was sixth. The department's own committee, formed to pick officers for new posts, prepared the gradation list based on the service tenure and records.
The list was originally prepared in 2016 and finalised in October this year after years of court battle.
But when the department issued the order for the posts last month, an utterly dejected Nazrul found his name was not there.
In a November 25 order, the department elevated 112 assistant upazila youth development officers, giving them "current charge" of upazila youth development officer.
"I have no political affiliation, and no bad service record in my career. But I was left out," said Nazrul.
Like him, some 70 officers were denied new posts. Most of them have been superseded by those at the bottom of the gradation list, also known as the fit list.
The posts were handed out in violation of the youth and sports ministry order of October 28, 2021, which asked the department to process the promotion based on the gradation list.
The department failed to follow the list, and a senior secretary said the order issuing the posts should have stuck to the fit list.
Officers who have been denied new posts alleged bribery, nepotism and political favouritism.
"Some of my colleagues tried to persuade me to arrange Tk 5 lakh to bribe higher officials. But I refused," said an officer, who was in the top 10 of the fit list.
"Now, I have to work under my junior, which is humiliating," he said, wishing anonymity.
He said he too has a clean service record.
New posts with "current charge" of upazila youth development officer is a crucial step for future promotions. Those carrying out the "current charge" of any post generally get the position whenever a post becomes vacant.
Once promoted as upazila youth development officer, they become first-class officers with higher pay and status.
On November 28, three days after the department issued the order, some aggrieved officers wrote to the parliamentary standing committee on youth and sports ministry, alleging irregularities and seeking interventions.
They also challenged the order at the Administrative Tribunal-1, Dhaka, two days later.
"Incumbent Director General [of the department] Azharul Islam Khan indulged himself deeply in irregularities and corruption. He has created a syndicate, through which he realised Tk 5 lakh from each and gave posts in current charge to officials who are even at the bottom of the gradation list," reads the letter, seen by The Daily Star.
Parliamentary Committee Chairman Abdullah Al Islam Jakob could not be reached for comments. His personal secretary Monjurul Hossain said Jakob forwarded the letter to the senior secretary of the ministry for necessary actions.
Md Akhter Hossain, senior secretary to the Ministry of Youth and Sports, said they too received a letter from some officers who alleged irregularities in handing out posts.
The ministry would demand an explanation from the department on the matter and take action accordingly, he said. "Current charge is not a promotion. But as per rules, such a charge should be given in line with the gradation list."
He added that the ministry would send a proposal to the Public Service Commission division to promote the officers in line with the fit list.
DG Azharul downplayed the allegations of irregularities.
"No money changed hands," he insisted, saying some poor-performing officers, who had taken out loans but failed to pay, and those who have show-cause notices issued against them were not considered for the new posts.
But multiple officials who did not get new posts said they performed their job without any bad service records. When this was pointed out to him, the DG said, "Since it is a political government, we also kept in mind the political consideration while giving promotions."
Asked about an officer who was the general secretary of a thana unit of the pro-Awami League student body before joining the department, Azharul said, "Political issue was not that serious. Rather, previous service record was considered since they would be in charge of an office."
Asked if 70 people getting superseded was normal, he sidestepped the question and said those who were fit but did not get posts would be considered for new posts in future subject to the availability of vacant posts.
Asked why the fit list was not followed, he said this was not a case of promotion. The fit list was not followed as it was a case of "current charge".
Deprived officers alleged that Md Mokhlesur Rahman, deputy director (admin) of DYD, who signed off the promotion order, played a key role in "giving the posts in exchange of bribes".
Mokhlesur dismissed this as "absolutely false", and said posts in current charge need not be in line with the gradation list.