Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Chairman Iqbal Mahmood has said there is no scope for oversight in the investigations into the casino issue – amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
"I can say, unequivocally, that there is no room for laxity in the investigations into the casino issue. All the inquiries and investigations are continuing. Due to the novel coronavirus situation, it may take a little longer than the scheduled time to complete the investigations. The investigators concerned have been asked to work from home. They are working relentlessly," he told reporters in response to a question from the journalists over the phone on Friday.
In response to another question from reporters, regarding allegations of corruption in the purchasing of N-95 masks and personal protective equipment (PPE), he said, "It is normal for any organisation to conduct procurement activities when it is necessary. In this regard, the ACC cannot do anything. However, if there are any irregularities, corruption or forgery in these purchases, the ACC should take legal action."
Iqbal Mahmood further said the commission was following the media reports on irregularities or corruption in the purchasing of N-95 masks and PPE.
Additionally, the hotline number – 106 – has received a number of complaints against the health sector, he said. The intelligence unit of the commission was also instructed to collect information in this regard.
The anti-graft body chief said the Ministry of Health had already completed its own investigation into the matter.
"We may collect the ministry's report from them. Data is now being collected from various sources and being analysed. After that we will sit and a decision will be taken after analysing the data. Masks or PPE are associated with the safety of physicians', nurses' and health workers' lives. So, all these allegations are being taken very seriously and a decision will be taken quickly," he said.
When reporters asked him whether the commission would summon the people concerned after accepting the complaints of irregularities in purchasing masks and PPE, the commission chief replied, "Investigation officers will act according to the law. The decision to arrest or summon the accused will be taken by the investigation officers."
In response to another question, the ACC chairman said a team formed by the commission had also worked to prevent irregularities and corruption in health management. A report was submitted to the health ministry last year.
"The commission thinks that if the recommendations of this report are implemented, it will be easier to prevent corruption and irregularities in the health sector," he said.
The ACC Chairman further said the commission was receiving complaints against big hospitals in the capital and also from grass-root levels – upazila health complexes. These complaints would also be checked and resolved, he said.
Legal action would be taken if the allegations were proven, he added.
Iqbal Mahmood said as the ACC was committed to discharge its responsibilities with transparency, any decision in this regard would be communicated to the public through journalists.