The Transparency International Bangladesh has said the statements made by Dr Ahmad Kaikaus, principal secretary to the prime minister, regarding vaccine corruption and TIB's affiliation with the Australian company BHP were "incorrect and misleading".
At a workshop organised by the Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) in Dhaka on Saturday, Kaikaus denounced critics for bringing corruption allegations against various government projects, including the vaccination campaign.
Speaking as chief guest at the event, Kaikaus said, "Transparency International, Bangladesh has recently alleged corruption in the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines. They accused the government of committing an average bribery of Tk69 per dose in vaccine procurement, but there is no proof.
"The Asian Development Bank and the World Bank were involved in the procurement."
Kaikaus also said, "TIB is funded by Australian firm BPH that has faced fines repeatedly for damaging the environment."
In a press release on Sunday, TIB said Kaikaus's remarks on the bribe issue were completely misleading.
TIB said its report titled "Governance Challenges in Tackling Covid-19 Crisis: Inclusion and Transparency" published by TIB on 12 April mentioned that 10.1% vaccine recipients gave Tk69 in bribes on average to get the vaccines skipping the queues.
It said their exit poll showed that 2% of recipients fell victim to irregularities and corruption which included delays, greater preference given to politically influential people and government officials at vaccination centres, while others had to return although there were ample vaccines at some centres.
On Kaikaus' remark that TIB gets funds from BHP, the corruption watchdog said TIB has never received any funding from BHP and there is no question of doing so.
TIB is mainly funded by the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). All information in this regard is available on the TIB website.
TIB said it is interested in all kinds of information exchange and consultation on its research and financing to avoid any misunderstanding.