Sunday, June 23, 2024

Govt’s money gobbled up

Bangabandhu Bridge
Govt’s money gobbled up 
Probe finds 2 firms pocket Tk 1.16cr
Two local firms working at the Bangabandhu Bridge have gobbled up Tk 1.16 crore between November 2010 and March this year, according to an official investigation.
Shamim Enterprise Ltd and UDC’s job is to operate and maintain the bridge.
The companies embezzled Tk 89.94 lakh and Tk 26.06 lakh realised from overloaded trucks and towing charges of broken down vehicles. The money was supposed to go to the Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) as per the companies’ contracts with the government. The communications ministry formed a probe body in April this year to look into “irregularities of the companies in depositing the money” that might have been going on since November 2010. Bridges Division Secretary Khandaker Anwarul Islam said, “An investigation was done, but I have no knowledge about it yet.” The probe carried out by the BBA in May reveals Shamim Enterprise and UDC realised Tk 26.06 lakh as towing charges from vehicles that had broken down in the bridge area between November 2010 and March 2013.
The companies as per the contract use BBA tow trucks and charge the vehicles towing fees. But, they neither deposited the collected money nor recorded the information with the police.
The probe also found that the companies realised Tk 1.32 crore as toll from overloaded trucks between July 2011 and March 2013 using the two yards, where overloaded trucks are sent and charged Tk 50 for using the yard.
After paying salary of the yard employees, the rest of the money was supposed go to the BBA. According to the probe report, the companies paid Tk 37.56 lakh in salary, deposited Tk 8.93 lakh to the BBA account and kept Tk 85.49 lakh.
The probe report, a copy of which has been obtained by The Daily Star, detects the companies have hidden data of 8,906 overloaded trucks that used the yards, on both ends of the bridge, and had paid over Tk 4.45 lakh in toll. The probe, however, contradicts the Bridges Division’s claim that there was no corruption or irregularities regarding the Bangabandhu Bridge.
The probe body headed by Deputy Director (admin) Moniruzzaman of the Bridges Division has also found long queues of trucks due to an improper system in place that creates scope for truckers to use manual weighing machines and the readings of those machines were questionable. “A tendency of using manual machines is very clear. Evidence is there that the employees of the operator companies and yards are involved in allowing overloaded trucks to cross the bridge without being fined,” says the report. As per the deal, the contract of the companies could be terminated and both the local and Chinese firms could be blacklisted for indulging in corruption and violation of contract. Asked whether action would be taken against the companies, Chief Engineer Kabir Ahmed of the Bridges Division said another investigation was going on to determine the actual transactions. However, sources in the second probe body claimed that the BBA was trying to bury the findings and come up with excuses as to where the money had gone. A BBA enquiry had earlier discovered embezzlement of Tk 11.93 lakh toll money. Officials through random scrutiny of toll records of January and February in 2012 and December in 2011 found the money missing. The money was stolen by hiding real data on computers and by duplicating money receipts.
Corruption cases were filed against 12 toll collectors, but no action was taken against the companies.
Shamim Enterprise and UDC did not have previous experience but got the bridge operation and maintenance job by virtue of their joint ventures with two Chinese firms — Scientific Institute of Communications (GSIC), and Meteorological Construction Company (MCC). However, no officials of the Chinese companies were seen working there.

-With The Daily Star input

Related News

Over 1.04 crore animals sacrificed on Eid-ul-Adha this year

News Desk : dhakamirror.com A total of 1,04,08,918 animals were sacrificed across the country on the occasion of the holy Eid-ul-Azha this year. As many as 3, 67, 106 more animals were slaughtered this year compared to previous year, the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock said in a press release on Tuesday. This year the ... Read more

9am-5pm office time to resume from Wednesday

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The public offices across Bangladesh are set to go back to old office timing from 9:00am to 5:00pm with Fridays and Saturdays being the weekly holidays as usual from Wednesday. The cabinet in its weekly meeting on June 3 decided restoring the old office timing between 9:00am and 5:00pm on weekdays ... Read more

5 magnitude earthquake jolts parts of Bangladesh

News Desk : dhakamirror.com A magnitude 5 earthquake jolted a large part of the country on Sunday (2 June) afternoon., including Dhaka. The quake struck at 2:44pm from a depth of about 110km, according to the Bangladesh Meteorological Department, and was centred in the Mawlaik area of Myanmar, 441 km southeast of Dhaka. The quake ... Read more

Over 2cr to be fed as daylong Vitamin ‘A’ plus campaign begins

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The National Vitamin A-plus campaign is being conducted with a target to feed the capsules to over 2.22 crore children, aged between six months and 59 months. The campaign started at 8am on Saturday (June 1) and will continue till 4pm. Feeding Vitamin A capsules prevents blindness in children, ensures normal ... Read more

Postponed notice fake, HSC exams on June 30 as per schedule

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and equivalent exams will be held on time as per previous announcement, beginning on 30 June. The routine deferring the exams for a month that is making rounds in social media, is fake, the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Dhaka said on Saturday. A circular ... Read more

3 month-long ban on fishing, tourism in Sundarbans begins

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The forest department has imposed this three-month ban on fishing and tourism in the Sundarbans. Local communities, including fishermen, wood and honey collectors, who depend on the Sundarbans for their livelihoods, are concerned about a three-month ban on all activities in the forest starting Saturday. The restriction applies to visitors, including ... Read more

Appellate Division upholds HC verdict on DU teacher Samia’s demotion

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The Appellate Division today (26 May) upheld the judgement of the High Court which declared illegal the demotion order of Dhaka University faculty Samia Rahman on charges of plagiarism. A four-member appellate bench headed by senior judge M Enayetur Rahim of the Appellate Division rejected the appeal of DU as invalid. ... Read more

3.2 million children at risk as Cyclone Remal hits Bangladesh coasts: UNICEF

News Desk : dhakamirror.com As Cyclone Remal hit the coastal areas of Bangladesh, over 8.4 million people, including 3.2 million children, are at high health, nutrition, sanitation, and safety risks, according to UNICEF. ‘Our thoughts go out to the children and their families at this critical moment as they endure the storm’s impact,’ said UNICEF ... Read more

Classes suspended at coastal area schools due to cyclone

News Desk : dhakamirror.com No classes will be held at schools in the coastal areas due to Cyclone Remal, said State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Mohibur Rahman. He said this after a meeting of the inter-ministerial disaster management coordination committee at the Secretariat on Sunday. According to a bulletin of the Met Office, ... Read more

Cyclone Remal forms over Bay, signal 7 at Payra and Mongla

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The deep depression over the east and west central Bay of Bengal intensified into a cyclonic storm “Remal” at around 9:00 pm today and is expected to hit the country’s coasts between 6pm and 11:59pm tomorrow, according to the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD). The Met Office asked the Payra and Mongla ... Read more

Admissions for Class XI start tomorrow

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The first phase of applications for Class XI admission for the 2024–2025 academic year will begin tomorrow, May 26, and run through June 11th. According to the XI class admission circular 2024-25, the online application system is divided into three phases with designated application windows, result announcements, and confirmation periods. Students ... Read more

Exam will not be postponed for Cyclone Remal: NU

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The National University has decided not to postpone the Introduction to Government Policy exam for 4th-year Political Science honours students for the academic year 2022, despite the warning for the approaching Cyclone Remal. The exam is scheduled to be held on Sunday (26 May) at 1:00pm, the same day that the ... Read more

Gold price cut by Tk 1,084 per bhori

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The prices of gold in the country’s local market witnessed a fall on Thursday as the Bangladesh Jewellers’ Association (Bajus) slashed the price of 22-carat gold by Tk 1,084 per bhori (11.664 grammes). The new rate for the precious metal will come into effect on Friday, BAJUS said in a press ... Read more

Don’t pay anyone for visas, or work permits: Italian envoy

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Italian Ambassador to Bangladesh, Antonio Alessandro, advised visa-seekers not to pay anyone for visas, emphasising that the embassy only charges small taxes and processing fees. “Our services are free except for these official fees,” he said today (21 May) following a meeting with Shofiqur Rahman Choudhury, the State Minister for Expatriates’ ... Read more

Bangladeshi mountaineer Babar Ali conquers Everest

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Babar Ali from Chattogram has summited Mount Everest and raised the red and green flag on the world’s highest peak. He reached the summit at 8:30am local time (8:45am Bangladesh time) on Sunday, proudly raising the red and green flag of Bangladesh. He began his journey on 1 April, after necessary ... Read more

Price of gold increases by Tk1,178 per bhori

The new rate will be effective from Sunday (19 May) News Desk : dhakamirror.com The Bangladesh Jewellers Association (Bajus) today (18 May) increased the price of gold by Tk1,178 per bhori, followed by a price hike in the local bullion market. According to a Bajus statement, 22-carat gold will now cost Tk1,18,460 per bhori (11.664 ... Read more

9 Bangladeshis named in Forbes “30 Under 30 Asia” list

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Nine Bangladeshis have been named in Forbes “30 Under 30 Asia” list for their contributions across various industries. Forbes announced its prestigious “30 Under 30 Asia” list for the ninth consecutive year yesterday (15 May), showcasing 300 exceptional young individuals under the age of 30 who are making significant strides across ... Read more

SC Stays HC Verdict On Condemn Cell

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The Appellate Division on Wednesday stayed a High Court verdict that asked the jail authorities not to put death sentence inmates in the solidarity confinement before the end of all legal processes. The Appellate Division judge in chamber, Justice M Enayetur Rahim, granted the stay after hearing an appeal filed by ... Read more

BRTA to take ‘no helmet, no fuel’ policy for bikers

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Besides, no battery-run auto-rickshaws will be allowed to operate in Dhaka The Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) has decided to take a “no helmet, no fuel” approach for motorcycle riders across the country. Besides, no battery-run auto-rickshaws will be allowed to operate in Dhaka, according to decisions taken at a meeting ... Read more

MV Abdullah finally arrives at Ctg port

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The 23 crew members of Bangladeshi flag carrier MV Abdullah, which was recently freed from the captivity of Somali pirates, has reached the Chittagong Port today (14 May). The Chittagong Port Authority has a reception at the New Mooring Container Terminal (NCT) to welcome back the sailors. Their family members are ... Read more