President’s pardon received as ‘young officer’

Within six months of being punished, executive magistrate of the Department of Environment (DoE) and former assistant commissioner (land) Faizunnassa Akther has been pardoned (exempted) by President Md Shahabuddin in consideration of being a ‘young officer’.

She was given minimum punishment on 23 January this year as allegations of 'biased behaviour' and 'misconduct' were proven. But the president graciously exempted her on 1 August, the ministry of public administration has issued a notice stating this information.

Faizunnassa Akhter joined government service in 2014. In that sense, her service life is clocking 10 years. So, questions have been raised whether she can be labeled a ‘young officer’ or not.

Former cabinet secretary Ali Imam Majumder commented, if someone is in their first two years of service or as an apprentice, they can be labeled ‘young officer’. Voicing his query to Prothom Alo he said, how does one remain a novice even after working for 10 years? Besides, crime has nothing to do with being junior or senior.

Ali Imam Majumder also added that exempting Faizunnassa , despite being punished under departmental measures, will encourage and motivate other offenders even more in the future. She was not proved innocent in the investigation. In consequence of such decisions, others will not hesitate to commit crimes in the future either.

Senior secretary of the ministry Mohammad Mesbah Uddin has signed the notice. That notice published from the discipline-2 section of the public administration ministry stated that Faizunnassa Akhter, while employed as the assistant commissioner (land) in the Motijheel revenue circle, had behaved in a biased manner with the managing director of a company named ‘Golden Son Limited’.

She at the time, denied the mutation application of this company under the excuse of the land plot of Purana Paltan’s holding 87 being listed in the ‘b’ section of derelict property. But, she approved a different mutation case of the same holding number, it added.

According to concerning sources, the housing and public works ministry had already removed the property in concern from the list of derelict property on 19 November 1995.

Due to such irregularities regarding the mutation, a departmental case had been filed against Faizunnassa Akhter on charges of 'misconduct' under Section 3 (b) of the Government Employees (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 2018.

The allegation brought against her was proved after the investigation concluded following all the proper legal procedures, as per the rules. Later the ministry of public administration demoted her to the lower pay scale for two years, meaningFaizunnassa was given a minor punishment by demoting her to the lowest step of the sixth pay grade (Tk 35,500-67,010).

The notice, issued on 1st August further stated, since Faizunnassa appealed within the stipulated time for exemption from the minor punishment awarded to her, the president being kind has ordered that the ‘appellant is a young officer’ and her appeal is being granted considering the tenure of her service.

When asked, Faizunnassa Akhter told Prothom Alo, “If there are errors in the documents filed during the mutation application, it may be rejected. I did the job following the proper procedure.”  In reply to the query, so was there any fault in the departmental investigation of the ministry- she said, “You cannot comment on the investigation procedure. What happened at the end is what’s actually important.”