Ministry letter faked for false antigen tests

Narayanganj district map
Prothom Alo illustration

The Directorate General Health Services (DGHS) recently traced a privately run company, TKS Healthcare Limited, issuing false Covid-19 negative certificates in the names of expatriate workers and recruiting employees in exchange of money after forging a health ministry’s letter of approval to conduct antigen tests.

Following DGHS complaints in this connection, members of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB)-11 on Friday detained TKS Healthcare assistant manager Md Mostaqim, 26, from Araihazar of Narayanganj district.

The following day, Ashraful Amin, the resident medical officer at Araihazar upazila health complex, lodged a case with Araihazar police station over the fraudulence, accusing TKS Healthcare chairman Abul Hassan, 38, managing director Abdullah Al Mamun, 31, Mostaqim and 35 unnamed others.

According to the case documents, a fraud racket operating from Dhaka had been recruiting employees for TKS Healthcare in exchange of money. A DGHS vigilance team recently found that the same group had issued false Covid-19 negative certificates for some immigrants from Araihazar. DGHS identified Mostaqim, a youth from Bishnandi Purbapara in Araihazar upazila and an operative of the criminal group and informed RAB accordingly.

Investigating officer of the case and a sub-inspector at Araihazar police station, Tareque Parvez, told Prothom Alo that the fraud racket was expanding their network all across the country.

Detained Mostaqim too got trapped into the crime network. Attempts are being taken to arrest the other accused in the case, Tareque said.

TKS Healthcare chairman Abul Hassan came from Dahar Shangkar area of Rajapur upazila under Jhalakathi district while managing director Abdullah Al Mamun’s village home is located in Salua area of Chougachha under Jashore district, the case documents read.

Earlier on 20 July, a circular issued by health services department said that a social media propagation by TKS Healthcare that the department gave permission to the company to conduct antigen tests, is completely false. TKS Healthcare allegedly faked a letter signed by deputy secretary Zakia Pervin.

The health services department circular also instructed the authorities concerned to take legal action against the people involved in such unethical and illegal activities.

Narayanganj Sadar upazila health and family planning officer, Zahidul Islam, also Covid management focal person in the district, said outbound passengers need to be alert about such fraudulence.

“Every record of valid Covid certificates is saved on the DGHS server. Outbound passengers’ Covid certificates are scrutinised at airports. No public or private organisation has the authority to change the records,” Zahidul told Prothom Alo.