Many of the DGHS officials, who gave shelter to Abdul Malek alias Badal, are still in service. Since his appointment as a driver in the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) in 1986, Malek gradually took control of the drivers' recruitment, their transfer and promotion. Mysteriously, the high officials did not oppose it.
The members of Rapid Action Battalion-1 on Wednesday arrested Abdul Malek from his Dakkhin Kamarpara residence that falls within the jurisdiction of Turag police station in the capital. Information of his huge amount of asset starts coming out.
Malek is a member of a syndicate which controls the DGHS.
After the ruling Bangladesh Awami League came to power in 2009, one of the policymakers of the health ministry backed this syndicate. Abdul Malek worked as the driver of the then health directorate DG Shah Munir Hossain, a supporter of that policymaker. Later, Malek formed Drivers’ Association’ and became its president. All the drivers would follow his orders.
After the outbreak of novel coronavirus, various corruptions at the health sector began surfacing.
Sources said Malek and other members of the syndicate have been working under the DG, director (admin) and other top officials for long. Many of them are still in service.
Sheikh Hasan Imam has recently joined as director (admin) at DGHS. Speaking to Prothom Alo, he said Abdul Malek has been suspended as per the rule.
The influential persons behind Abdul Malek, Abzal, Shahed and Sabrina have made huge amount of money. Those who were in the front have been arrested, but those who were pulling strings from behind remained untouched. They have to be brought to book, otherwise such operation will not yield any good result
“We are enquiring about those who have connection with him,” Imam said adding that the current administration adopts zero tolerance policy to those who are corrupt.
RAB said they have found that many of the syndicate members are still in service.
Officials at the DGHS said a member of the syndicate manage the record files for the recruitment, transfer and promotion of class-1 and 2 officials and class-3 employees except those of the physicians.
That member also looks after preparing organogram, creating posts and job permanent issues.
Preferring not to be named, an official said a stenographer was promoted as an administrative officer. After a few days, the promoted official was made the personal assistant of the DG. It is learnt that a relative of Abdul Malek is working as an office assistant at the DGHS.
Sources said none but high officials at the DGHS get transferred. Except physicians, work places of other officials and employees are DGHS, field-level hospitals and medical colleges. There is no law that the officials and employees cannot be transferred from one place to another. But in practice, those who are in service at the DGHS get transferred within the organisation.
But this practice has not been followed for the relatives of Abdul Malek. His brother Abdul Khalek works as a driver at the dispatch section and his nephew Sohel Shikari works as the driver of deputy director at the admin section. Although his daughter Nowrin Sultana joined as office assistant at the DGHS, she is now on deputation to Urban Dispensary in Motijheel and his another nephew Abdul Hakim, who also joined as office assistant at the DGHS, is on deputation to the community clinic. Brother-in-law Mahbub works as a driver at Communicable Disease Control (CDC).
Everyone kept mum
The old office of the DGHS is adjacent to the Mohakhali kitchen market. Transport officer Alauddin Khan attends office there.
He said there are 17 cars in revenue section and most of them are old. Among them, 13 were provided by the World Health Organisation. There are 48 drivers. There are 14 programmes in the development sector of the health ministry.
Alauddin could not instantly say the number of cars in these programmes.
One of those 14 programmes is about non-communicable disease. An official at the non-communicable disease control department of DGHS said Malek used to control who will drive whose car at the DGHS. He also took decisions on purchasing fuel, parts and car repairing.
If anyone raised objection, Malek did not provide driver. Speaking to Prothom Alo on Tuesday, an official said he got a car and contacted with the transport pool for a driver. The official was told to contact Malek.
Malek told the official that no driver will be provided for him from the transport pool.
Malek’s son-in-law runs a canteen at the old office of DGHS. The canteen was found shut on Tuesday.
Khandaker Sefayetullah was made the health DG after Shah Munir Hossain. Sefayetullah allowed several people including Malek to run a canteen for two years. Since then they have been doing the business there.
As per the rule, a tender has to be floated to run the canteen, and those, who would run the canteen, will deposit money to the public exchequer. In this regard, former director (admin), Belal Hossain, submitted a report to former DG Abul Kalam Azad. But no steps were taken.
Big house with an artistic gate
Malek has a seven-story building on four-katha land in Bamnartek area, near Section-10 of Uttara, Dhaka. There is around 7/8-katha land in front of the house. There are two security guards at two gates. He lives on the 3rd floor of the building. Prothom Alo correspondent talks to his sister Fatema. She said Malek’s children are not staying at the house after his father’s arrest.
Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA) secretary general Ehteshamul Haque Chowdhury said the influential persons behind Abdul Malek, Abzal, Shahed and Sabrina have made huge amount of money. Those who were in the front have been arrested, but those gave instructions, who were pulling strings from behind remained untouched. They have to be brought to book, otherwise such operation will not yield any good result, Ehteshamul Haque Chowdhury noted.
* The report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been written in English by Rabiul Islam