Convict must spend only 15 of the 30 years behind bars as sentences will run concurrently
A Dhaka court on Monday sentenced Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) driver Abdul Malek to a total of 30 years of imprisonment in a case filed under the Arms Act.
Judge Mohammad Rabiul Alam of Dhaka Special Tribunal-4 handed down the verdict in a crowded courtroom with the lone convict in attendance.
In the verdict, the court observed that the prosecution was able to prove the charges against Malek and he was being given the highest punishment for committing the offences.
Malek was sentenced to 15 years for possession of firearms and 15 years for possession of ammunition. Although the sentence is for 30 years, Malek must spend just 15 years behind bars as the sentences will run concurrently.
Earlier, the court on September 13 fixed the date for delivery of the verdict after closing arguments were concluded.
A total of 13 prosecution witnesses testified in court in the case.
Expressing satisfaction with the verdict, Assistant Public Prosecutor Salauddin Hawlader said: “We have got justice from the court.”
Defence counsel Shahinur Islam said an appeal would be filed against the verdict.
Malek was arrested by the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) in Dhaka’s Turag area on September 20 last year on charges of extortion and illegal firearms trading.
A foreign-made magazine, five bullets, and fake currency worth around Tk1.50 lakh were recovered from Malek at the time of his arrest.
RAB filed two cases against Malek with Turag police station, one under the Arms Act and the other under the Special Powers Act.
He was accused of being involved in a number of illegal activities, including amassing wealth illegally through transfer of employees of different departments through lobbying.
On January 10, police submitted the charge-sheet against the DGHS driver.
According to sources, Malek joined the Savar Health Project as a driver in 1982 with an educational qualification of class eight. In 1986, he started working as a driver at the transport pool of the DGHS.
According to RAB, there are two seven-storey buildings in the name of Malek’s first wife Nargis Akter in South Kamarpara. He also has a 10-12 katha plot adjacent to the buildings.
There is a dairy farm on a 15-katha land plot at South Kamarpara in the name of his eldest daughter.
Malek has also an under-construction 10-storey building on four katha of land in the capital’s Hatirpool area. He also has a huge amount of money deposited in different banks.
Malek during interrogation disclosed the names of several other government employees who are also involved in corruption.
According to sources, Malek had close relations with two former directors general (DG) of the DGHS and the Medical Education and Family Welfare Division, as he used to drive their government-issued vehicles.
Many used to refer to Malek as the “Shadow DG.” Some people in the health sector knew him as the “foster son” of a former DG due to their close ties.
Meanwhile, the Anti-Corruption Commission also filed two cases against Malek and his wife Nargis Begum on charges of possession of illegal wealth.
According to the first case, Abdul Malek amassed Tk 1,50,31,810 illegally but submitted a false statement of Tk 93,53,648 to the ACC.
Besides, Malek and his wife Nargis Begum were accused in the second case as Malek directly assisted his wife in acquiring wealth worth Tk 1,10,92,050 beyond known sources of income.