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Corruption rife in BIWTC

Legal notice served on ACC for stringent steps

Published : 24 Mar 2024 11:06 PM | Updated : 25 Mar 2024 12:25 AM

After all the moves have failed, a legal notice has finally been served to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to take effective initiatives for eliminating ‘massive corruption’ in Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC).

Advocate Dr. M. Anisur Rahman on December 26 last year served the legal notice to the chairman of the apex anti-corruption watchdog, ACC.

Talking to the Bangladesh Post, he, however, disclosed it on Saturday (March 23).

The lawyer served the notice following instructions from his client Khandaker Zakir Hossain, General Secretary of the BIWTC Workers Union Central Committee (Reg No. B-1700).

The legal notice was also served to the Senior Secretary of the Shipping Ministry,

Secretary of Public Administration Ministry, Chairman of BIWTC and the Director General of an influential intelligence agency.

Various authorities of BIWTC, specially SM Ashikuzzaman, Director (Commercial) of BIWTC, have been repairing, selling, buying, giving charter of BIWTC ships to their favourite companies and persons without following the law of the country, rules and regulations of BIWTC for about 15 years, the legal notice reads.

It said the BIWTC rented out its building and spaces, and approved various fake bills submitted by their favourite companies and persons.

The state-owned body further indulged in unfair means by appointing officers and other employees for BIWTC.

SM Ashikuzzaman was promoted to the post of Deputy General Manager (Temporarily) on April 12 in 2015 without fulfilling the requirement of two years’ experience in the Feeder post as Assistant General Manager. Furthermore, he was again promoted to the post of Additional General Manager (Commercial/Passenger and Ferry) without fulfilling the required three years’ experience as DGM of BIWTC. Thereafter on June 6 in 2018, he was promoted to the post of Director (Commercial) of BIWTC without fulfilling the required experience. All the above promotions of SM Ashikuzzaman were done without fulfilling the laws of the land and Service Rules of BIWTC, the legal notice further said.

Earlier on February 27 in 2019, the former Vice-President of the BIWTC’s Worker Union Central Committee submitted an application to various government departments specially the authorities of BIWTC, regarding numerous irregularities made by some high

 officials of BIWTC. The legal notice claimed that some BIWTC high officials appointed officers and workers by receiving Tk 3 to 7 lakh illegally from per person.

On July 1 last year, the BIWTC floated an open tender for one year regarding leasing out of Paturia-Daulatdia ferry ghat in Padma river for transportation of passengers without following the provisions of Public Procurement Law 2006.

Corruption, misappropriation of money and various irregularities are rampant in BIWTC.

The legal notice also referred various media reports which claimed that unlimited corruption and arbitrary activities are being carried out under the leadership of SM Ashikuzzaman, Director Commercial of BIWTC.

The media reports also revealed that SM Ashikuzzaman in connivance with others engaged their favourite contractors to repair and gave charter ships of BIWTC without inviting tender. Thereafter those ships were made unusable with ill motive and consequently those ships were sold to them with cheap price without following the provisions of Public Procurement Law 2006, rules and regulations of BIWTC.

His client made several written representations to the notice recipients on December 11 last year. But no action yet has been made by them till to date, the legal notice further said.

Under the above mentioned facts and circumstances, you, the notice recipients, are requested to take necessary action by stopping the above mentioned corruption and irregularities for saving the interest of BIWTC in particular and the public interest in general, said Advocate Dr. M. Anisur Rahman in his legal notice.

About the next legal step, Advocate Dr. M. Anisur Rahman said, “I cannot share information of my client with you.”

Khandaker Zakir Hossain, General Secretary of the BIWTC Worker Union Central Committee, on Saturday said notice recipients did not answer the legal notice.

The next course of action is under process, he added.

Mirza Md. Mostafizur Rahman, president of the BIWTC Worker Union Central Committee, vowed to file case in a bid to stop corruption.

Denying all the allegations against him, SM Ashikuzzaman said, “All these  allegations against me are completely baseless.”

He also claimed that no graft cases were pending against him.

Additional Secretary Dr. AKM Motiur Raman, also the chairman of the BIWTC, said, “I am not aware of this legal notice. Normally, we give reply to all legal notices.”

Talking to the Bangladesh Post, Md. Mostafa Kamal, Senior Secretary of the Shipping Ministry, said legal notice is not a case.

It is served before filling a case, additional information may be given by the chairman of the BIWTC, he added.

Ashis Kumar Dey, the president of the National Committee to Protect Shipping, Roads and Railways, a civic group, said it is unfortunate that the ACC takes slow and steady policy despite the media reports on corruption in various government organisations.

Keeping mum on policy of the ministry concerned against corruption is more unfortunate, Ashis Kumar Dey said.