Published: Saturday, March 23, 2013

Graft in Foreign-Aided Projects

Money drawn without work

CAG finds some UP chairmen involved

An audit carried out by the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General has found that some Union Parishad chairmen had drawn money without doing any work in foreign-aided development projects.
The CAG office has also detected other irregularities including transfer of money from accounts by the project directors allegedly with a motive to embezzle the fund.
The Annual Audit Report, which was placed in parliament last week, says 15 serious irregularities were found in some foreign-aided projects in 2008-09 fiscal year and earlier involving around Tk 9 crore.
Three UP chairmen in Jamalpur, Netrakona and Satkhira withdrew Tk 14 lakh from banks without doing any work of the Local Governance Support Project in 2008-09 fiscal year.
The LGSP is being implemented with financial assistance from the World Bank.
Another UP chairman in Naogaon withdrew around Tk 9 lakh from the same project in 2008-09 FY and deposited the sum to a different account. He neither implemented the project nor refunded the amount.
In another instance of irregularities, Tk 27 lakh had been shown as spent for purchasing materials for public works and other purposes showing fake or doctored cash memos.
Several UP chairmen in Rajshahi, Pabna and Naogaon have shown the project money spent using fake memos. Several memos were tampered with to make the spent amount higher than the actual figures.
The audit report says a letter was sent to the secretary to the ministry concerned in December 2009 to take action against the persons responsible for the irregularities. But the ministry did not give reply as to what action was taken in this regard.
The CAG audit report says Tk 2.32 crore was transferred from a designated account for the Emergency Flood Rehabilitation Project in 2004 to another account with the motive of misappropriation.
The project was implemented with assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The report adds the Tk 523.17-crore project funded by the ADB spent Tk 520.35 crore. Of the remaining Tk 2.82 crore, Tk 49.21 lakh was deposited to the government exchequer, but the rest remained unaccounted for.
However, the auditors found that Tk 2 crore had been transferred to another account, which was hidden during the audit, while Tk 32 lakh still remains untraced.
In the same project in 2007-08 FY it was shown that three vehicles were procured at around Tk 70 lakh, but there was no allocation for vehicles on the project papers.
However, the ministry concerned informed the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) that no vehicle was purchased under that project.
The hygiene, sanitation and water supply project, emergency disaster damage rehabilitation project, and some other projects also witnessed some irregularities. After depositing the projects’ money to the banks about Tk 1.24 lakh accrued on account of interest, but this amount was not deposited to the government treasury.
The Rural Infrastructure Development project under the LGED ministry had Tk 96 lakh realised as fine from the contractors for their neglect of duty. The auditors found that the amount had not been deposited to the government exchequer.
According to government rules, vehicles purchased for a project will go to the government transport pool once the project is completed. But 53 vehicles of Dhaka Urban Transport Project and Road Maintenance and Improvement Project were not handed over to the government pool on completion of the projects.

  • Fazlul Karim

    Necessary steps should be taken that no further irregularities can taken place.