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Covid-19 protective gear scam: ACC grills ex-DGHS DG Azad

12 Aug 2020 18:14, Somoy English Desk
Covid-19 protective gear scam: ACC grills ex-DGHS DG Azad
Covid-19 protective gear scam: ACC grills ex-DGHS DG Azad

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on Wednesday interrogated former Director General of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Prof Abul Kalam Azad as part of its investigation into irregularities in procuring Covid-19 protective gears.

ACC Director Mir Zainul Abedin Shibli started interrogating him at their headquarters at 10am which continued for around five hours till 3pm.

Besides, the national anti-graft body quizzed two more people, including former DGHS Director Dr Mohammad Aminul Hasan, over the agreement signed with Regent Hospital for collecting samples for coronavirus test and treatment of Covid-19 patients.

According to the ACC, a section of officials of the Health Ministry, DGHS and the Directorate General of Drug Administration in collusion with each other misappropriated crores of Taka through procuring substandard masks, personal protective equipment (PPE) and other health equipment for the treatment of Covid-19.

On June 15, the ACC formed a four-member probe body, led by Shibli, to look into the allegations.

As part of it, the national anti-graft body interrogated Dr Md Zakir Hossain, deputy director and P&C of the Central Medical Stores Depot (CMSD), and two others on July 20.

On August 6, it summoned Prof Azad asking him to appear at the ACC headquarters for facing interrogation.

He was also asked to appear before the ACC head office on Thursday (August 13) for interrogation over the agreement signed with Regent Hospital for collecting samples for coronavirus test and treatment of Covid-19 patients.

In the face of controversy and criticism, Prof Azad stepped down as the DGHS DG on July 21 last.

He went to the secretary to the Ministry of Public Administration, and submitted his resignation letter on Tuesday, said Health Services Division secretary Md Abdul Mannan.
After Prof Dr Deen Mohammad Nurul Haque went on retirement, Prof Azad was made the DGHS DG in August, 2016.

Later, he was reappointed on a contractual basis for two years after the expiry of his term.

Current Health Minister Zahid Maleque himself took the initiative to reappoint Prof Azad but various allegations, including negligence in his duties and biasness and various forms of corruption, were raised against him.

Especially, since the onset of corona infection, the irresponsibility of the DGHS director general has come to the spotlight. Though a process was on to change in post of the DG, Prof Azad quit taking the responsibility for failures, allegations of corruption and various misdeeds.

Earlier on July 15, the health DG submitted his written explanation over the agreement signed with Regent Hospital to Health Secretary Abdul Mannan. But the ministry was not satisfied with his explanation. 

In his explanation, Prof Azad said the agreement with Regent Hospital was signed as per the verbal instructions of former Health Services Division Secretary Asadul Islam.

However, the former secretary denied it.

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