WASA creates posts arbitrarily to appoint employees  

Dhaka WASA buildingFile photo

The Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (WASA) authorities have appointed two employees as directors, even though these positions were not included in the official organogram. Approximately Tk 20 million was misappropriated through these director appointments by abusing power.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has recommended filing a case against 10 individuals, including WASA's managing director, Taqsem A Khan, on these charges. 

Beyond these two directors, Dhaka WASA has filled at least 9 positions with personnel that are not outlined in the organogram. According to protocol, any financial-related decision should undergo an approval process involving the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Local Government.

However, this procedure was disregarded regarding these appointments. Consequently, government funds are being squandered on salaries and allowances for these personnel, much like the scenario with the appointment of the two directors. 

Mohammad Firoz Mia, an expert on government service rules and former additional secretary, told Prothom Alo that no one has the authority to appoint anyone outside of the approved posts. Even if the appointment is on contractual basis, there should be specific posts.

Such appointments are outright corruption. The post should be created first if not listed in the organogram. It requires the approval of the Ministry of Public Administration and Ministry of Finance. 

Dhaka WASA operates under government-approved regulations concerning the recruitment of personnel. The 'Dhaka WASA (Officers and Employees) Service Regulations, 2010' delineates the specifics of how manpower can be appointed and what the necessary qualifications are. According to the law, there is no scope to make appointments in Dhaka WASA outside of these posts. 

According to Prothom Alo's investigation and officials of various departments of Dhaka WASA, despite not being listed in the organogram, WASA authorities made appointments for the posts of Chief Disciplinary Officer, Chief Security Officer, Finance and VAT-Tax Officer, Assistant Finance and VAT-Tax Officer, Assistant Legal Officer, District Meter Area (DMA) Manager, DMA Assistant Manager, Billing Assistant and Machineman. Among them there are 8 DMA Managers and 24 DMA Assistant Managers. More than 100 people have been appointed for the posts of Billing Assistant and Machineman. 

Also Read

Despite not being included in the organogram, the Dhaka WASA authority is currently conducting appointment processes for the positions of Chief Media Officer and Media Officer. Advertisements have been placed in newspapers to fill these roles. Additionally, efforts are in progress to appoint 44 individuals to a non-organogram posts 'SCADA Operations Engineer'. 

WASA authorities can start the appointment process for new posts only after creation of posts, but no such procedure was followed in the recruitment to the above mentioned posts. The board has taken permission to make contractual appointments for those posts, but the posts have not been created in the organogram. 

Attempts were made to contact Dhaka WASA Managing Director Taqsem A Khan regarding these personnel appointments, but he did not respond to calls on his mobile phone. Subsequently, a written inquiry was directed to Dhaka WASA Deputy Chief Public Information Officer AM Mustafa Tarek, who, in turn, did not provide any response. 

Also Read

Recommendation for action against two directors 

A two-member special inquiry team headed by Syed Nazrul Islam, deputy director of the ACC head office, investigated the allegations of irregularities and corruption in the appointment of two directors in Dhaka WASA. The inquiry report was submitted to the commission in May this year. 

According to both ACC and WASA sources, the inquiry report states that individuals were appointed as Director (Development) and Director (Technical) despite the absence of these posts in the organogram. The appointments were made based on preference rather than adherence to proper procedures.

These actions constitute a punishable offence as illegal appointments were carried out without the establishment of legitimate positions and without adhering to relevant appointment regulations. 

Between April 2018 and August 2022, the two directors collectively received a remuneration of Tk 1 crore 98 lac and 65 thousand. 

As per the ACC report, 10 members of the board, including Dhaka WASA Managing Director (MD) Taqsem A Khan, misused their authority and facilitated these appointments. The report has advised initiating a case against 10 individuals, including the MD, invoking the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1947 and the Penal Code. 

Also Read

Salaries and allowances 

The salaries and allowances for employees not listed in the organogram are stipulated in their contracts. A review of WASA documents reveals that the monthly salary for the Chief Disciplinary Officer and Chief Security Officer amounts to Tk 100,000 each. Similarly, the VAT-tax officer receives a salary of Tk 60,000, and the assistant VAT-tax officer's salary is Tk 50,000.

The Assistant Law Officer's monthly salary is Tk 50,000. Consequently, the organisation expends approximately Tk 8.7 million annually on the remuneration and allowances of officers appointed to these five positions. If the salaries and allowances of the remaining posts are added, it will stand at several million per annum.

* The report was originally published in the print and online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten for English edition by Farjana Liakat