Our response to this crisis must come with deep introspection and a hardline approach to corruption
The recent crimes carried out by Regent Hospital owner Md Shahed and his staff are a sad reminder of the fact that, no matter how a dire situation we find ourselves in -- such as a global pandemic that has cost thousands of lives and brought the economy to its knees -- there is no limit to how low some people will stoop in order to capitalize on a country’s vulnerabilities and its people’s misery.
But, in a country where people were found stealing from the relief meant for the poorest amongst us, this should come as no surprise.
However, we must ask: How was Regent Hospital allowed to do this?
Regent Hospital had printed out hundreds of fake Covid-19 results and had charged the government huge sums of money for providing services it never actually carried out -- without even a valid license -- embezzling at least Tk3.5 crore in the process.
The fact that government authorities found it fit to sign a contract with an unlicensed medical facility serves to highlight the corruption embedded on both sides.
Not to mention the issue of Md Shahed himself -- he has a history of embezzlement, was jailed for his crimes, and, most worrisome of all, lied about his identity effectively enough to get close to influential people in the government and in law enforcement.
Such widespread corruption and incompetence can only mean that Regent Hospital is just a tip of the iceberg when it comes to criminal activities associated with our efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19, and the exponential harm this has caused to health of the nation is anybody’s guess.
Our response to this crisis must come with deep introspection and a hardline approach to corruption: Not only the perpetrators, but anyone who has knowingly colluded or protected them must also be brought to book.