Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has started an investigation into wealth of Water Development Board (WDB) director general (DG) Jahangir Kabir and four others.
WDB’s additional DG (East Region) AKM Momtaj Uddin suspended executive engineer of Sunamganj Md Afsar Uddin, former additional chief engineer Md Abdul Hai and former superintending engineer Md Nurul Islam Sarkar who are also under probe of the anti-graft body, ACC sources said
The suspects, Afsar Uddin, Abdul Hai and Nurul Islam, are also accused in a case filed with Sunamganj Sadar police station over corruption relating to embankments in Sunamganj haors.
The ACC, on July 5, assigned a team led by its director Mohammad Belal Hossain to hold probes into wealth of Jahangir Kabir and other suspects and asked to submit a probe report as soon as possible, sources said.
The ACC started probes after allegations that in last two years the suspects approved payment of Tk 25 crore for 28 embankment projects under 116 packages in haors of Sunamganj although they were never built.
On July 2, ACC assistant director Md Faruk Ahmed filed cases against 61 people with Sunamganj Sadar police station over corruption relating to embankments in haors of Sunamganj. Fifteen of them were WDB officials and 46 contractors.
The ACC also decided to issue an order for taking departmental action against AKM Momtajuddin, Jahangir Kabir and 11 other senior officials of the WDB and that of the ministry of water resources.
The anti-graft campaigners blasted the ACC for leaving the top officials of the WDB and the ministry of water resources out of its dragnet.
The ACC’s First Information Report (FIR) alleged that the suspected WDB officials gave work orders for 84 embankment projects in 2016-17 skirting tenders to contractors who had failed to complete the work in 2015-16.
The suspected officials are allegedly doing all these violating rules, knowing well about devastations caused by flash floods in the haor belt, the FIR said.
It also alleged that the suspects helped contractors embezzle funds of the projects after partially completing 151 embankments and doing nothing relating to nine other embankments.
Although the authority was empowered to cancel the agreements, realise compensation and blacklist the contractor firms for such offences, but they allowed the firms to continue the projects following ‘carryover’ system, the complainant said.
The contractors deliberately delayed the construction work so that flash floods and rains could wash away the incomplete embankments and they could take full payments by submitting false bills and vouchers, the FIR said.
Recent flashfloods in haor areas of Sunamganj district collapsed embankments due to incessant rain and onrush of water from across the border, inundating crops on 14,000 hectares of land.
Floods damaged 219,840 hectares of crop fields in Sunamganj and adjoining six districts, leaving 850,088 families to count massive losses.