After a line director of the Communicable Diseases Control (CDC) unit of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) took measures against improprieties in manpower procurement, some manpower suppliers have reportedly threatened him.
Prof Dr Nazmul Islam, line director of CDC, told The Business Standard that according to the Public Procurement Rules (PPR) 2008, permits for work worth over Tk60 lakh in a fiscal year cannot be given to contractors without an open tender process. It is also prohibited by the purchase committee of the DGHS.
However, two companies – Yahoo Collection and Rubel Trade International – got permission to supply workers from June 2019 without bidding in an open tender when Professor Sanya Tahmina and Shahnila Ferdousi were line directors of the CDC in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
The two companies have supplied workers for the last two years beyond the allowed limit and were getting paid over Tk1 crore in a fiscal year – in violation of the PPR 2008, said Dr Nazmul.
Noticing the violation of rules, Dr Nazmul sent letters to the two companies in December 2020, asking them not to supply manpower anymore from January 2021. He also issued a gazette notice in this regard in January 2021.
The contractors disregarded the letters and apparently kept supplying workers to the CDC. They also applied for payment to the DGHS, for theJanuary-June period of 2021, said sources.
"We also found mismanagement of some daily signatures in the logbook, and notified the DGHS regarding the matter," said Dr Nazmul.
"Meanwhile, the suppliers contacted ministry officials. The deputy secretary of the health ministry visited my office and pressured me to sanction the bills for six months (January-June), although this was against the rules," Dr Nazmul added.
On 29 April 2021, a deputy secretary of the health ministry did indeed visit Nazmul Islam's office, a CDC official confirmed TBS.
The driver of the deputy secretary was also appointed by the same companies who were claiming money in violation of the rules, said the official.
Dr Nazmul said some other persons on behalf of these companies also recently visited his office and threatened him to approve the payment for six months.
Following the harassment, DGHS Assistant Director Dr MM Akteruzzaman filed a general diary with Banani Police Station on 20 June, accusing the deputy secretary's outsourced driver, Md Sohel Rana, and some others, of misbehaving and threatening DGHS staff.
Md Tajul Islam of Rubel Trade International told TBS they claimed the payment on humanitarian grounds as the workers had provided services six months long.
"We have demanded their salary as per the procedures, but we do not know what the PPR barred or why the DGHS recently and suddenly cancelled the work permit," he added.
Kazi Abdur Rouf, owner of Yahoo Collection, told TBS that they got their work permit as per the rules and denied having threatened the CDC line director in any way.
The former two line directors of the CDC who approved the work permit in violation of PPR 2008 and the DGHS purchase committee recommendation, could not be reached over the phone for comment.
Deputy Secretary of Health Ministry SM Jahangir Hossain said he went to the DGHS for official work and not for any personal reason or interest.