HC asks ACC to end investigation against BPC’s associate body SAOC

Anti-Corruption CommissionFile photo

The High Court (HC) on Thursday asked the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to end the investigation into the irregularities of over Tk 472 crore against Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC)’s subsidiary body Standard Asiatic Oil Company (SAOC) within next three months.

An HC bench of Justice Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Khizir Hayat Lizu on a suo moto rule asked the authorities concerned after a hearing in this regard.

In the rule, the HC also wanted to know what actions were taken against the SAOC regarding the misappropriations and irregularities.

Apart from this, ACC, Comptroller Auditor and Audit General, BPC chairman and others were made respondents to explain as to why it would not be illegal to take action against the authorities concerned for their inaction to move against the accused.

On 4 November last year, English newspaper Daily Star published a report saying ‘BPC’s associate body embezzles Tk 472.7 crore’.

On 6 November, the HC issued a rule on a suo moto after ACC Counsel Khurshid Alam Khan drew the attention to it.

According to the report, the government has been deprived of Tk 472.7 crore for 21 counts of irregularities by SAOC, a subsidiary of the BPC, found in an audit.

The disclosure comes after the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) went through the company’s books from FY 2012-13 to 2019-20 and made field visits.

The SAOC, which is a 50-50 joint venture between the BPC and the Asiatic Industries, is involved in the blending and marketing of engine oil and lubricating oil for vehicles; the marketing of diesel oil; the marketing and distribution of bitumen, liquefied petroleum gas and furnace oil; and supplying jet fuel to aircraft at Cox’s Bazar International Airport, it said.

The anomalies include embezzlement by top officials, high rates, overtime, missing funds, irregularities in payment of litigation fees and violation of the Income Tax Ordinance and VAT Rules, the report added.