RAB claimed the hospital handed out over 6,000 fake Covid-19 reports and embezzled over Tk3cr
The Director General of Health Services (DGHS) has ordered a stop to all activities of Regent Hospital in Dhaka due to irregularities.
Dr Md Aminul Hasan, director of hospital and clinic of DGHS, confirmed the decision through a press release on Tuesday.
He said that the Uttara and Mirpur branches of Regent Hospital Limited had been providing medical services to Covid-19 patients since March.
But various irregularities were detected in the Uttara branch of the hospital during operations by a mobile court of RAB, as published in various electronic and print media.
According to the published news, the hospital was found illegally charging a huge sum of money from two patients. It was proved that the authorities of the hospital embezzled money and committed irregularities by handing out false reports in the name of RT-PCR examinations, despite not having approval for such examinations, and not renewing the hospital’s licence despite being urged to do so, the release said.
Due to the irregularities and in accordance with the Medical Practice & Private Clinic & Laboratories Regulation Ordinance, 1982, the activities of the hospital were ordered stopped immediately.
RAB seals hospitals
Meanwhile, a mobile court of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) conducted raids for the second day on Tuesday, and sealed Regent Hospital as well as its head office in Uttara over allegations related to issuing fake Covid-19 certificates and other forms of misconduct, RAB Executive Magistrate Sarwoer Alam said during the drive.
RAB also seized unauthorized testing kits and a Pajero jeep from the hospital.
The vehicle had no registration number and had a flag stand as well as a sticker of the health department. RAB suspects that the owner and chairman of the hospital, Md Shahed, had been using it to mislead the public as well as the law enforcement agencies, said the executive magistrate.
The hospital had an agreement with the DGHS that it would provide free treatment to Covid-19 patients. However, the hospital was charging patients although it had submitted vouchers to the government claiming patients were being treated for free, he added.
The RAB executive magistrate said that the hospital authorities were permitted to test their coronavirus patients, but they went out of their way and collected samples from different places. They charged Tk3,500 for those. They have tested around 4,200 samples till now. They collected 6,000 samples and doled out reports without any tests and embezzled over Tk3 crore.
“This organization has not had a licence since 2014. And its ICU is not in a good condition. There are no machines in their diagnostics lab. There were reports without any tests. Besides, raw fish was found in a section of their fridge,” he added.
“The rapid test kits that were found had no approval and RAB suspects that they used to sell them. Beside that, there is a medicine store here. The surgical items that are there have had their sell-by dates expiring long ago,” he added.
Sarwoer said that the authorities had sealed Regent Hospital’s office due to various such allegations. “Besides, we have arrested eight members of this organization. And a total of 17 people, including fugitives, are being prosecuted.”
Later in the day, RAB filed a case against 17 people, including Regent Hospital owner and chairman, Md Shahed, with Uttara West police station, Sujay Sarker, assistant director (legal and media wing) of RAB told Dhaka Tribune on Tuesday night.
‘Action against those committing such malpractice’
Asked if the country’s image was being tarnished when people were found positive after landing abroad due to fake reports, he said: “If anyone is going abroad with negative reports from here and he is getting positive there, then of course the image of our country is being tarnished. And that's why we're taking legal action, so that no one will dare do such things again.”
Attempts are being made to arrest Shahed, the owner of Regent Hospital, and Masood, the director. Money laundering cases may be filed in the future, subject to further investigation of the incident.
“We would like to say that action will be taken against those who make such fake reports, or cheat in the name of providing services,” he added.
“Officials from the Department of Health and the Department of Drug Administration are with us in this crisis. We all are working together. We hope we can get out of this problem by working in a holistic way,” the official said.
Earlier, a few weeks ago, an organization called JKG was also accused of producing reports without examination of patients. Ariful Chowdhury, one of the owners of the organization, was arrested in this connection.
However, the department of health and the law enforcement agencies did not take any action against his wife and the chairman of the organization, Sabrina Arif Chowdhury. The health department did not say how JKG had obtained approval for collecting and testing samples.