An Education Ministry staffer detained by law enforcers over corruption charges on Saturday has been building an estimated Tk4 crore house in Dhaka’s Mohammadpur area despite receiving a net salary of only Tk13,088 per month.
According to local people, Motaleb Hossain, the personal officer (PO) of Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid, also used a private car on his frequent visits to inspect the construction site.
Insiders from the Education Ministry and the police said Motaleb was arrested by the Detective Branch of Police from Mohammadpur on Saturday afternoon.
An unnamed local said Motaleb was apprehended on the roof of the building. “Since then, the construction workers and caretakers have abandoned work and left the area,” the local said.
This correspondent visited the under-construction building near Bosila Bridge on Monday, but did not find anyone at the site.
Ataullah, principal of a local Madrasa who owns a plot near Motaleb’s property, said he bought his land around the same time as Motaleb in 2014.
“Motaleb’s construction costs have already exceeded Tk1.5 crore, and he needs to spend another Tk1 crore to finish the construction,” Ataullah said. “The complete costs of Motaleb’s property, including the price of the land will reach Tk4.5 crore.”
According to sources, 0.03 acres (one katha) of land in the area costs around Tk60 to Tk70 lakhs. So, the price of 0.09 acres (three katha) of land will hit a minimum of Tk1.8 crore.
Adding that he has seen Motaleb inspecting the construction of his building, Ataullah added: “I have always seen him using private cars.”
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Sources from the Secondary and Higher Education Department of the Education Ministry said Motaleb joined the Ministry of Education in November 1999 as a steno-typist.
He was later promoted to the post of stenographer before accepting a second promotion on November 30, 2016 to become the personal assistant of Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid.
The post of the personal assistant was upgraded to personal officer in 1997, and the salary scale was set to the 10th grade. Motaleb had been serving as a second class government officer since the upgrade.
Insiders confirmed that Motaleb had received every timescale and selection grades available to an officer of his rank, and had received all scheduled increments in his 18-year career as a government officer.
Data collected from the accounts section of the ministry said Motaleb is entitled to receive a salary of Tk28,100 per month, which stands at Tk30,600 after the inclusion of healthcare and children’s tuition allowances.
He pays Tk12,000 as an installment for a Tk6 lakh loan every month, and also does not get his house rent allowance as he lives in an officer’s quarter provided by the government. So he is only able to pick up a salary of Tk13,088 per month.
Another Education Ministry staffer, Md Nasir Uddin, was also arrested by law enforcers on January 18. To protect their colleagues, co-workers of Motaleb and Nasir informed the education minister that the duo had been abducted.
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On January 21, the Education Ministry sent a letter to the Home Minister, requesting them to take action to track down the missing officials of the ministry.
The following day, Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid told the media: “We have no reports suggesting that these two officials were involved in irregularities.
“We now have confirmation that the law enforcers have detained these two officials. If proven guilty, they will be given appropriate punishment.”
The minister concluded by stating that he has a “zero tolerance” policy against those found to be involved in corruption and irregularities.
This article was firs published on banglatribune.com