The accused allegedly embezzled a significantly large amount of money in collusion with some others, says the anti-graft watchdog
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has arrested JMI Hospital Requisite Manufacturing Ltd (JHRML) Chairman Abdur Razzak on charges of supplying fake N95 masks to the Health Ministry.
A team led by ACC Director Mir Zainul Abedin Shibli arrested him on Tuesday from the capital's Shegunbagicha area, confirmed ACC Director (public relations) Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya.
Later in the day, a Dhaka court placed Razzak on a five-day remand.
Judge KM Imrul Kayesh of Dhaka Senior Special Judges Court passed the order after ACC Deputy Director and case investigation officer Nurul Huda produced Razzak before the court with the remand plea.
No lawyer was present in the court to defend Razzak.
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On July 1, the commission had summoned five businessmen, including the JHRML chairman, for properly investigating the allegations of corruption in the purchase of masks and other healthcare products.
ACC Director Shibli said statements from officials of private organizations were necessary for investigating the allegations of embezzlement against officials of the Health Ministry and the Directorate General of Health Services.
The accused allegedly embezzled a significantly large amount of money in collusion with some others by purchasing substandard masks, personal protective equipment (PPE), and other health equipment for the treatment of Covid-19 patients through irregularities, corruption, and abuse of power.
Earlier on June 18, ACC formed a four-member team led by ACC Director Shibli to investigate the allegations of irregularities, corruption, fraud, and forgery in the procurement of various protective materials, including N95 masks and PPEs.
JHRML was accused of putting healthcare workers at risk of contracting coronavirus by supplying fake N95 masks to the Health Ministry.
ACC received allegations on this matter from multiple sources, including its own intelligence unit.
Earlier, the government allocated Tk100 crore to buy N95 masks for healthcare workers who treat Covid-19 patients.
The contractor, JMI Group, was given the order of supplying masks made in the United States.
When the masks were supplied to several hospitals, including the Mugda General Hospital in Dhaka, doctors questioned their quality.
The Health Ministry reacted by forming an inquiry committee of its own. Although the committee submitted the inquiry report to the ministry, the committee’s head refused to reveal anything about its content.