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Corruption in 10-High school construction project: Last Part

20 small trees cost Tk 60 crore!

Land prices unusually high for project, unimaginably low for PD

Published : 06 Jan 2020 09:32 PM | Updated : 07 Sep 2020 06:44 PM

The price of around twenty small trees was estimated at Tk 60 crore and for a few old tins, Tk 6 crore, in the much-talked-about 10-school project of the Education Ministry. More than Tk 358 crore was proposed as the estimated cost for acquiring just two acres of land for a single high school. But the controversial Project Director of the project, Dr Amirul Islam, allegedly showed unusually low prices for all of his all valuable assets. In his personal TAX Identification Number (TIN), he showed Tk 4,19,380 for his one storied house built on 1,267 square feet. He showed Tk 1,75,000 only for 9.09 decimals of land in the city’s Mohammadpur area. And that is not all! more surprises await the readers. 

Price of 24.75 decimal lands in Mohammadpur area was shown at Tk 1,55,000 only. According to close sources, he has a large number of flats and lands in the capital. But the prices of his all wealth were shown at such unimaginably low prices. And many of his pieces of property were not shown at all in his tax file. Thus, he allegedly evaded taxes. Dr Amirul was born into a very poor family. But he became one of the richest teachers of the country after he was involved in the 6/11 project. Sources alleged that he is not only involved in project-related corruption, but also in tender manipulation in the Secondary and Higher Secondary Directorate of the Education Ministry. On Sunday, Bangladesh Post correspondent phoned Dr Amirul Islam for his comment on the various allegations against him. An SMS was also sent to his personal mobile number seeking his comment. But he did not respond. The Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education under the Secondary and Higher Education Division of the Ministry of Education is implementing the Tk 673 crore project from July 2017.

Even though less than one percent of the project work has so far been completed, the PD along with his corrupt syndicate officials have become desperate to increase the cost of the project to Tk 1,124 crore. In the Development Project Proposal ( DPD), the total cost of the project was Tk 673.46 crore. But in order to embezzle major funds of the project, a corrupt syndicate is desperately trying to send Revised Development Project Proposal (RDPP) to the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) for allocating Tk 1,124 crore. Project insiders alleged that most of the corruption is believed to occur in the land acquisition process. In the DPP, Tk 400 crore was allocated for 20 acres of land acquisition for ten new high school grounds. But in the RDPP, around Tk 750.50 crore was proposed for the same amount of land for the same numbers of schools. The proposed estimate for acquisition of 12 acres of land was around Tk 604.50 crore. The proposed cost was signed by then Land Acquisition Officer of Dhaka District Jooti Prue. 

A signed copy of the probable estimate was also obtained by Bangladesh Post. This probable estimate was prepared at the request of the then new high school establishment project in a bid to raise the land acquisition prices to Tk 750.50 crore in the RDPP, sources said. When contacted, Jooti Prue admitted that he had signed the estimated copy of the documents when he was serving in that position. He said that he is not currently engaged in any affairs of the project any more. However, he claimed that this estimate is not final at all. Before finalizing the acquisition, officials from various government departments will make field visits to the sites to prepare a joint inventory. When contacted earlier, PD of the project, Dr Md Amirul Islam had said, “The estimated prices were prepared by the concerned DC office. I am not involved in the issues.” He, however, said that the estimated prices are not final at all. The Education Ministry is revising the prices.