The corruption in the organisation was so deeply rooted that each contractor had to offer 10% to 15% of the total project money as commission to LGED engineers and politicians, as they would award him the contract in the first place, according to the report.
Of the 10% to 15% of the project fund LGED officials would be provided with, 8.5%-10.5% is commission, while the rest would go to politicians for their role in helping the contractors win the project work, the report mentioned.
“A contractor has to pay 0.5%-1% to executive engineer, 1% to assistant engineers, 2%-3% to deputy-assistant engineers, 1% to accountants, 0.5% to upazila nirbahi officer, 1% to project consultant, 1% to upazila engineer and 1% to project director (fund release),” the report noted.
Based on the estimation, around Tk20bn-Tk26bn out of the total amount that LGED spent from fiscal year 2007-08 to fiscal year 2011-12 had been paid as commission, TIB said in the report, which was presented at a roundtable.
The roundtable, titled “Local Government Engineering Directorate: Problems and Solution to Good Governance” was held at the CIRDAP auditorium in the capital.
In implementing a project, corruption would begin with the publishing of the tender notice in a newspaper, for which a newspaper with low circulation would generally be chosen. Local politicians would work in cahoots with LGED engineers to make sure that their candidates got the job contracts.
In many instances, they would purchase all the copies of the newspaper where the tender notice was published in order to keep other prospective contractors in the dark, TIB said.
“If it turns out that other contractors somehow know about the tender notice, they are then obstructed from submitting the tender schedule.”
The final part of the scam would be played out during the evaluation process when the tender evaluation committee, upon instruction from the politicians and engineers, would finally award the job to those nominated beforehand, the report said.
The LEGD, which has so far performed 80% of road construction and development work at upazila level and 50% at union level, is also plagued by rampant politicisation.
“Politicians exert their influence almost everywhere, from recruitment up to promotion. The entire process of manpower management and field-level activities is murky and that takes its toll upon the beneficiaries of the projects – the village people.”
Additional Chief Engineer of the LGED Abul Kalam Azad speaking at the function admitted that the TIB report was largely true.
“A lot of the findings in the research are true, I must say. However, the researchers could have delved deeper into some allegations to find out the exact cause why such things happen,” he said.
SUJAN Secretary Dr Badiul Alam Majumdar said: “LGED should be split into many fragments and merged with other institutions as it has grown too big to function properly. When engineering department of the local government grows stronger than the local government itself, we must understand that it does not bode well for the nation.”