Planning Minister of Bangladesh MA Mannan.. Image Source: IANS News

Dhaka, July 26 : Corrupted Businessman of Begum Khaleda Zia-led political party of Bangladesh BNP, Engineer M.A. Rashid, owner of Karnaphuly Ship Builders is still getting support from the government agencies with huge bribe, sources of BIWTA (Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority) confirmed to IANS.

Planning Minister M.A. Mannan told IANS, "It's sad to say, my order to find out and make a blacklist and punish the corrupted shipping companies and the owners as Hon'ble PM had said, has been denied by government agencies." Earlier, Bangladesh government decided to procure 20 dredgers for the BIWTA to dredge the country's rivers to enhance their navigability. As part of the procurement of dredgers, Karnaphuli Ship Builders received a work order to construct 10 dredgers at a cost of 770 crore takas in 2017.

A single company Karnaphuly Ship Builders based on Chattogram had dropped the tender to procure 10 dredgers in 2016. Soon after, at the parliamentary standing committee meeting, Bangladesh PM Hasina refused to give approval after seeing a single company had dropped the tender to procure 10 dredgers.

Seven old dredgers, which were procured during Bangabandhu's regime before 1975, were still performing very well compared to the new dredgers procured in recent times. According to sources, these dredgers have also been used for emergency purposes, but the new dredgers have failed to meet the purpose during emergencies.

Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina has instructed to be active in curbing corruption in the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) 5 days back on July 21, Planning Minister Mannan told IANS.

Earlier, some lawmakers of the parliamentary standing committee on the shipping ministry had raised questions as to how the same company always got work orders to construct dredgers.

Rashid also owns 3 fishing vessels -- the real owners of 2 of which is Simon, son of former BNP government's Water Transport minister Late Colonel Akbar Hossain (retd).

Bangladesh intelligence officers have received reports that Rashid through some influencers sent huge amount of fund to grab tenders.

Mannan remembering about Engr Rashid's corruption said, "I know BIWTA has some excessive corruption. I remember Honb'le Prime Minister gave the order to take action against the corruption. I read the order myself and instructed the government agencies to blacklist those who are still present in the big tenders. There was a clear instruction of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina followed by me that they should not be given any work in the future." But, I must say, as seriously as we say, the order gets lighter as it goes down and its totality decreases.

"Unfortunately its pace is very slow. The prime minister expressed resentment and annoyance. She asked us to find out the reasons," said Mannan.

I have some responsibilities since I was in charge of the Ministry of Planning. There are big questions of good governance, he added.

The Planning Minister of B'desh said, legal process is always time consuming. Criminals get a chance in this. The government has to give instructions in the new process in accordance with the law. As the accused have to be given a chance to speak. At the same time, we cannot take a stand against the criminals taking advantage of the loopholes through lawyers.

But the Chairman of the BIWTA Commodore Golam Sadeq told IANS, "Yes, I know Karnaphully Ship Yard is a regular company, which works with BIWTA. But I don't know any wrong dealings of them, or if the name of the company is in any black list".

"I will find out about this allegation, as I came to know about the wrong-doings of the Company", BIWTA Chairman concluded.

"But Hn'ble PM is the supreme authority to approve the tender," Commodore Sadeq added.

Members of the Parliament wondered how the BIWTA and the shipping ministry of B'desh sent the proposal to the PM's approval in favour of a certain company, Karnaphuly Ship Builders when a huge amount was involved in the procurement.

However, the BIWTA floated a re-tender on 13 September 2017 to procure 10 dredgers, 72 auxiliary vessels, and other equipment at a cost of 940 crore takas.

A total of 4 companies, including an international company, submitted tenders, sources said, adding that the local companies were, Karnaphuli Ship Builders, Khulna Shipyard Own by Gov) and Ananda Builders Ltd and the UAE-based APT Marine Services Ltd also submitted a tender.

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