The health sector of the country, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus epidemic, has not been able to come out of the stigma of corruption and irregularities, but new scandals are emerging. The audit department of the Ministry of Health itself has highlighted the irregularities in the purchase of 9 hospitals in Dhaka which are considered as specialized in corona treatment. In these 9 hospitals, irregularities worth Tk 365 crore were found in 95 sectors. 20 types of irregularities have been identified, including buying medicines at several times higher prices, buying blankets at Rs. 350 for Rs. Sorting, shopping without the approval of the authorities and without need etc. An 11-member team has been conducting the audit since November last year.
The hospitals are Sir Salimullah Medical College Hospital, Dhaka Medical College Hospital, Mugda General Hospital, Dhaka Dental College, National Heart Institute and Hospital, Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital, Kuwait-Bangladesh Friendship Hospital, Rehabilitation Institution, Kurmitola General Hospital. However, not all the irregularities in 95 sectors have taken place in all the hospitals.
Kuwait-Bangladesh Friendship Hospital, Shaheed Suhrawardy and some other hospitals have been given work orders and bills at the rate of 10 per cent without any deposit as per the rules. An expensive X-ray machine at the National Orthopedic Hospital and Rehabilitation Center has been misappropriated at a cost of Tk 28 million. The bill was paid before Kurmitola General Hospital realized some re-agents and dengue devices. There have been various irregularities in the purchase of meropenem injections in all the hospitals. Some hospitals have bought these injections at several times the market price.
On the other hand, EDCL, a government pharmaceutical company, has stopped production at the right time and given the opportunity to privately owned companies to supply medicines to government hospitals at high prices. Apart from this, the government has caused crores of rupees in financial loss by leaving the medical equipment in some hospitals unused. Although the contractor did not deliver the goods on time as per the contract, their bill was paid without canceling the work order. Despite the low cost of medical equipment produced by the government-run Institute of Public Health and EDCL, the government has lost a huge amount of money as a result of not buying the necessary equipment from that institution and buying it from private companies at high prices. The government has lost crores of rupees by buying unusable X-ray film.
The audit team found that the hospitals had not deducted or reduced VAT on purchases as per the guidelines of the National Board of Revenue. Supply of food at higher prices than the actual market price, purchase of MSR materials or equipment even when not required, purchase and repair of equipment without inviting tenders, purchase of MSR materials in violation of contract terms, goods not found in store or found less, PPR 2006 and According to PPR 2006, the lowest bidder was not given a work order. Purchase of goods in violation of Financial Powers-2015, working without approved annual plan, purchase of medicines, saline and saline sets by government EDCL and Institute of Public Health locally through contractors, disregarding ministry directives in procuring MSR materials, in addition to additional quantity of medicines. Content purchased.
Final bill payment to the contractor before completion of work, non-collection of fines for late completion of work, rejection of heavy equipment sent from CMSD even when not required, payment of work order and bill without deducting performance guarantee, payment of bill without medical equipment Equipment has been procured by accepting goods in defiance of the recommendations of the TEC Committee or the work order of the organization, making official estimates without verifying the market price, issuing work orders without contract and paying bills and submitting tenders.
According to the report, three tenders were declared out of the tenders received against the surgical instruments, medicines, linen and furniture tenders (four groups of surgical instruments and medicines, three groups of linen and five groups of furniture) at Mugda Medical College Hospital. The three tenders submitted by Messrs. Orbit Trading, Messrs. Golden Trading and Euro Trading were validated by all three tenders. Besides, the father and mother of the owner of the trade license, income tax certificate and national identity card of the three companies are the same. Office and home address are the same. In other words, the three companies have tied the same thread and they have submitted tenders in concert. The lowest bidder, Euro Trading, submitted a blanket at Rs 2,417. After checking the market price, it has been seen that the maximum market price of that quality blanket is 350 rupees. On the other hand, Dhaka Medical College Hospital has bought better quality blankets at Tk 432 each. Renal care ‘A’ and renal care ‘B’ and ‘F’ catheters used for dialysis have been purchased at double to five times the price.
According to the audit, tenders were called for medical equipment and other equipment in a hospital for the financial year 2016-17 and supply orders were issued against contract execution or supply orders.
It was in the financial year 2018-19, but the bill for this work has been paid in the current financial year. No approval has been sought from the finance ministry in this regard. Again, in the case of supply of chemical re-agents, notice of execution was issued along with Lexicon Merchandise, but supply orders and bills were issued without any agreement with them. Evidence has also been found that the hospital paid the bill to the contractor without accepting the goods.
Asked about this, Additional Secretary in charge of Financial Management and Audit Division of the Ministry of Health Mohammad Shahadat Hossain told Kaler Kanth that if any government irregularities and breaches of law come up in any audit, action should be taken as per the recommendation of the audit team. Depending on the level of crime, in many cases, action can be taken directly under criminal law. In addition, there are usually departmental investigations and lawsuits. In most cases, the offended money is taken back from the concerned officials or it is recovered from their salary and even pension money.
According to the audit department sources, these 9 hospitals in Dhaka were audited from August to October last year and the report was prepared from November. After completing the necessary process, the report is sent to the parliamentary committee.