Published:  02:17 AM, 13 September 2017

Govt to probe submarine cable irregularities

The government will investigate the irregularities and violation of rules of the second submarine cable expenditure which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday last.

The government audit report alleged that 85 percent expenditure was made in violation of the Constitution and other laws of the land.

The Foreign Aided Projects Audit Directorate made a number of allegations against expending Tk 542 crore 24 lakh 45 thousand eight hundred and 29 of the project in connivance with the contractors and top functionaries of Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL). The total project cost is Tk 660 crore.

While talking to this  correspondent, Shyam Sunder Sikder, Secretary of Post and Telecommuni-cations Division, at his Secretariat office yesterday, said, "If anyone is found guilty in the investigation he/she will have to face eventualities under the rules and regulations."

He further said, "We already have gone through the audit report but everything figured out there is not right. There is some misleading information that brought the project  expenditure under question. "The report has been made by a former project director (PB) without concent of the Managing Director (MD). Any report like this cannot be filed or submitted to higher authorities without the concern of MD."

The auditors submitted incomplete reports for personal interests without sufficient information or proof, he noted.    However, the secretary has acknowledged that there are some irregularities with the MD of the project while taking the expenditure responsibility leaving behind the PD.  

According to the audit report, The BSCCL MD violating the Constitution, financial rules and without the approval of the BSCCL Board, gave Tk 37 crore 90 lakh to the contractor. Audit report claimed that the MD was nobody in the project. The MD also paid Tk 21 crore 89 lakh to the contractor  without measuring the boundary and landing sub-station, the report  alleged adding that it also lost fund amounting to Tk 1 crore and three lakh for purchasing land at higher rate.

The project incurred a loss of nearly Tk two crore for investigating the collapse of newly constructed boundary wall. BSCCL also incurred a loss of Tk 69 lakh 26 thousand for buying a vehicle before commencing the project. Another loss of Tk 46 crore incurred for collapse of the boundary wall after six months of construction.  It paid a penalty of TK 98 crore for delayed supply and commissioning of electrical and mechanical equipment.

The project money amounting to Tk 50 lakh was paid by the MD instead of PD. The project incurred another loss of Tk 152 crore for making bill vouchers in violation of the Article 128 of the Constitution. Tk 1 crore 50 lakh was paid without any pre-survey of sand filling. Tk 23 lakh was paid without any budget allocation; Tk 38 crore was given to the MD without approval; Tk 11 crore loss incurred due to excess payment of rod at higher rate; Tk 23 lakh was paid without adjustment, and excess honorarium of Tk 28 lakh was paid, the audit report further alleged.

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