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Dhaka Tribune

Who are behind the rise of DGHS driver Malek?

In remand, Malek has disclosed the names of some other government employees who are involved in corruption

Update : 22 Sep 2020, 11:46 PM

The recent findings surrounding the illegal wealth accumulated by Abdul Malek, a driver at the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), have become the talk of the town.

Netizens took to different social media platforms to express their sheer disbelief, shock, awe and anger over the matter with pictures of the corrupt driver’s lavishly hand-crafted wooden house door and imported toilet fittings.

Malek, after being arrested by the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) on Sunday from the capital’s Kamarpara area, is currently on a 14-day remand over two cases which charge the DGHS driver with dealing in illegal firearms and counterfeit currencies. 

In remand, Malek has disclosed the names of some other government employees who are involved in corruption.

According to sources, Malek had an “intimate” relationship with two former directors general (DGs) of the DGHS and Medical Education and Family Welfare Division as he used to drive their government-issued vehicles.

Besides, he also disclosed the names of a few other DGHS officials, claiming their involvement in corrupt activities.

Sources said that many used to refer to Malek as the “Shadow DG” and because of his very close ties with a former DG of the DGHS, people in the health sector knew him as his “foster son.” 

Lt Col Ashik Billah, director (legal and media wing) of RAB, while speaking on a TV talk show, said that Malek, during interrogation, had provided information about his illegal wealth, which includes a large number of flats, buildings and a cattle farm.

"Specifically said, he [Malek] was with Dr AHM Enayet Hussain, DG of the Directorate General of Medical Education (DGME), for a long time," said the RAB director, adding that Malek had been with Dr Enayet since the latter’s days as additional DG.

"Malek was involved in extorting money for the recruitment of over 100 health assistants for the country’s upazilas in 2009.

"He even performed Hajj multiple times. Basically, he had the backing of former DGHS DG Prof Dr Shah Munir Hossain," added Lt Col Ashik Billah.

"Munir doesn’t have any son. But he used to introduce Malek as his son and he [Malek] misused that," he added.

Lately, at one point, Malek was assigned as the driver for another former DGHS DG Abul Kalam Azad.

Sources said that Malek earned a lot of illegal money with the help of some leaders of the Swadhinata Chikitshak Parishad (Swachip) and Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA).

Moreover, he had control over associations comprising employees and drivers of the DGHS, they added.

Malek, after getting named in the list of corrupt government employees by the anti-corruption task force formed during the caretaker government regime in 2007, went on the run to avoid arrest, sources said, adding that he even used women to execute his plans.

Officers involved in investigating the matter have said that Shahjahan Fakir, the current personal assistant (PA) to the DG of DGHS, is also involved in corruption along with other staff members of the DGHS.

Shahjahan had been PA to other former DGs as well, they said, adding that he had also accumulated a lot of illegal assets, including a building in Mymensingh.

Besides, the names of a few other DGHS employees, including Administrative Officer Kabir Hossain and Jahangir Alam, Accounts Officer Mujibul Haque Munshi, and Data Entry Operator Tofayel Ahmed Bhuiyan, have also come into light for corruption, the law enforcement officials involved with the cases said.

With educational qualifications up to class eight, Malek first joined the Savar Health Project as a driver in 1982. In 1986, he started working as a driver at the transport pool of the DGHS. 

Health top guns claim they didn’t know

However, Prof Dr Shah Munir Hossain told the media that he was not aware of information regarding Malek’s corruption.

When asked about Malek’s illegal recruitment business for the DGHS, he said: "There is a committee for recruitment. I have no knowledge of Malek’s influence regarding this matter. 

“He had never mentioned it to me."

Dr AHM Enayet Hussain, DG of DGME, while talking to the media, said that Malek drove his car for four years and he had never heard of his corruption during that time.

Earlier, after Malek’s arrest, RAB officials said that there were two seven-storey buildings in the name of Malek's first wife Nargis Akter in South Kamarpara. He also has a 10 to 12-katha plot adjacent to the buildings.

There is a dairy firm on a 15-katha plot at South Kamarpara in the name of his eldest daughter. 

Besides, Malek has also an under-construction 10-storey building on four katha of land in Hatirpool area.

He also has a huge amount of money deposited in different banks, the official added.

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