A parliamentary committee has recommended disciplinary and legal actions against three former officials of Muktijoddha Kalyan Trust as they were found to be involved in corruption, abuse of power, and violation of rules.

The officials are – Iftekharul Islam Khan, former managing director (MD) of the trust; Md Sirajul Islam, its deputy general manager (admin); and Sayeed Mahmud Belal Haidar, its former secretary.

The parliamentary body on liberation war affairs ministry also recommended that an amount equal to the losses caused by the unscrupulous officials be realized from them.

The allegations of corruption and irregularities against the officials were substantiated in an investigation carried out by the committee in 2020. In the following development, the committee sent a letter to the liberation war affairs ministry and asked it to execute the recommendations last week.

The ministry officials said the appointments of Iftekharul Islam Khan and Sayeed Mahmud Belal Haidar were made under the public administration ministry as they both are BCS administration cadre. On the other hand, Md Sirajul Islam was under the Muktijoddha Kalyan Trust.

The liberation war affairs ministry has already written to the public administration ministry and the Muktijoddha Trust for taking action as per the recommendations.

Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque told Prothom Alo that these three officials caused severe damages to the trust.

“As it is an administrative issue, we have sent a letter to the public administration ministry asking it to take action (against the officials),” he said, adding that the trust also will do its part.

The former managing director, Iftekharul Islam Khan, is now on leave preparatory to retirement (LPR). The deputy general manager, Md Sirajul Islam, is still employed at the trust and no action has been taken against him till the date. He could not be reached despite repeated attempts over the phone.

Apart from that, Sayeed Mahmud Belal Haidar, the former secretary of Muktijoddha Trust, has been made the director general of Bangladesh Oceanographic Research Institute.

In a conversation with Prothom Alo, he said that he had defended the allegations in a letter. About the allegation of using an unauthorised vehicle, he said he had used the vehicle for official purposes as well as to gear up his professional activities.

He also claimed not to be involved with the other allegations.

According to the trust officials, Iftekharul Islam Khan, then additional secretary, was made the managing director of Muktijoddha Kalyan Trust in 2018. He served the duty until 7 December, 2020.

The permanent parliamentary committee on liberation war affairs ministry formed a sub-committee, with Shajahan Khan MP as its president, to look into the allegations of irregularities and corruption against him on 22 October, 2020. The probe body dug into a total of five allegations that it received in the written form.

Earlier, an investigation found that Iftekharul Islam Khan was discharging duties at his own sweet will paying no heed to the official rules and regulations. He did not follow the official standard while leasing out a land owned by the trust.

The investigation committee summoned the official, but he refrained from being present before the committee and also did not send any statement of defense.

As per allegations, Iftekharul Islam, during his tenure as MD, had posted three trust officials at Mymensingh to take care of his son who worked for a private firm. The government spent a total of Tk 1.6 million as salary and allowances of the three officials.

Besides, he appointed an official driver for his family and the trust bore his salary and other allowances.

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had formed the Muktijoddha Kalyan Trust in 1972. As per the initial purpose, the trust was supposed to earn from its subordinate institutions and ensure employment of the brave freedom fighters and their financial security.

However, it seems that the purpose did not come true. The liberation war affairs minister, at a speech at Jatiya Sangsad on 4 March, said the trust currently holds assets worth Tk 3.91 billion – permanent assets of Tk 16.1 million, investment in fixed deposit receipt (FDR) of Tk 2.34 billion, and current assets worth Tk 1.53 billion. It also owns 70 acres of land.

Despite having the huge assets, the trust’s financial condition is now in a sorry state. It has taken an initiative to sell its assets.