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Reign of corruption: Tale of a DSCC official

  • Published at 01:53 pm February 27th, 2018
  • Last updated at 11:10 pm February 27th, 2018
Reign of corruption: Tale of a DSCC official
Shahabuddin Matubbar, personal assistant of Dhaka South City Corporation’s (DSCC) chief store & purchase officer, is facing multiple allegations of corruption and irregularities. Complaints against Shahabuddin include taking illegal commissions while purchasing goods for DSCC, purchasing sub-par quality goods by making backroom deals with contractors, and making purchases for the DSCC without calling for tenders. Several contractors and firms had submitted complaints against Shahabuddin to DSCC high ups, including the mayor on several occasions, but allegations against him have yet to be investigated by the authorities. This correspondent learned that more than 300 types of goods are purchased for 21 departments of the DSCC each year. The Store & Purchase Department handles this responsibility. The corporation allocates around Tk50 crore for this purpose in its yearly budget. There are allegations that Shahabuddin takes commissions from contractors, and then selects these individuals and firms as suppliers for the DSCC.

Archetype of corruption

On July 23, 2017, four contractors – Four P Logistics, Samrat Construction & Company Ltd, Maliha Enterprise, and Mukta Construction Ltd – compiled a report with evidence that supports allegations against Shahabuddin. One contractor, preferring to remain anonymous, said: “Shahabuddin does not do anything without taking bribes. He also has a habit of leaking classified DSCC information to other contractors. His reign over the DSCC is absolute.” Commenting on the matter, DSCC Chief Store & Purchase Officer Md Shakhawat Hossain said: “I have received complaints against Shahabuddin. A committee will be formed, and departmental action will be taken against him if he is found guilty.” According to the officials concerned, the position of the chief store & purchase officer in DSCC is not permanent, and officials get transferred after a year or two. However, the post of the personal assistant to the chief store officer is a permanent position. Shahabuddin has worked in this post for the past ten years and most, if not all, the activities of the department need his approval. One DSCC official, on condition of anonymity, said: “Shahabuddin Matubbar got involved in corruption and engaged in a number of irregularities.”
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A number of officials complained that the DSCC has three store officials, but they are never given the duty to purchase goods. They added that Shahabuddin makes all purchases for the DSCC, and he does not abide by the regulations. For example, he collects bills for goods that were purchased twice. “Not only that, Shahabuddin uses fake vouchers to embezzle money from a Tk1 lakh fund every month. The fund titled “Impressed Money” is reserved for emergency purchases,” they claimed.

Public money up for grabs

Complaints submitted by the contractors also state that there were many irregularities in the DSCC in the 2016-17 fiscal year during the printing of books. It should not cost more than Tk60 to print each copy of the budget book, with 100GSM art paper pages and 300GSM art paper covers. However, expenditure for each copy of the book was shown at Tk285. According to the complaint, funds amounting to Tk2.15 lakh were embezzled through this irregularity. Irregularities were also reported in the purchase of mosquito repellents. Insiders revealed that Shahabuddin issued a work order to a Narayanganj firm named “Dockyard and Engineering Works Ltd,” without calling for tenders. DSCC has so far purchased mosquito repellents worth Tk32 crore from this company. A 2% commission (Tk 64 lakh) was taken from the deal. An official from the company said: “From the 2% commission, the chief store & purchase officer gets 25%, his personal assistant and two store officials get 13% each, and the rest of the money is distributed evenly among the department officials and employees.”

How wealthy is Shahabuddin?

The complaints, which were submitted by the contractors on July 23, 2017, points out that Shahabuddin Matubbar has become very wealthy by engaging in corruption for years. He is the owner of an apartment in a three story building located at Borobagh Bosoti Housing of Mirpur. Shahabuddin also bought around 0.66 acres (eight kathas) of land in Beribadh, and owns a white micro-bus. Responding to complaints brought against him, Shahabuddin Matubbar said: “These allegations were brought against me to damage my reputation. I do not make purchase-related decisions; it is done only by the authorities.” He further claimed: “Firms that brought those allegations against me have themselves later said that those complaints are not true.” This article was first published on banglatribune.com