Threat to maritime safety: Ministry hesitant to take action against corrupts!

Staff Reporter :
The Shipping Ministry has reportedly been hesitant to take departmental action against the corrupt officials of the shipping department, posing a potential threat to the nation’s maritime safely.
A report from International Maritime Organization (IMO) shows that the Bangladesh shipping office is issuing fake competency certificates to ships, which fall into accidents and cause loss of human lives.
It also suggests that a national master plan is needed in this regard to ensure the nation’s maritime safety.
Shipping department’s ex-chief engineer AKM Fakrul was arrested on charges of corruption and suspended in 2017. Another ex-chief engineer Dr. S M Nazmul Haque was also arrested in 2018 and he was suspended for the same offense. Shipping office surveyor and examiner Mirza Saifur was arrested on September 2 at his office with Tk 2.0 lakh bribes by an ACC investigation team. Some more officials of the shipping department are under close surveillance and many of them have been asked to give their accounts of movable and unmovable wealth to ACC, sources said.
The ACC investigation team may conduct a drive anytime in order to arrest the corrupt officials of the shipping office, as sufficient evidence of corruption is available to them.
After the arrest of Mirza Saifur, the State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury asked Director General of Shipping Commodore Syed Ariful Islam to submit a report on his arrest. Accordingly, shipping DG sent a report mentioning the facts behind Mirza’a arrest to the ministry. Till now, the ministry remains indecisive to take action against the arrestee, shipping ministry sources said.
In the meanwhile, Mirza Saifur, on three-day remand in the custody of ACC, confessed the way he committed his corruption. He also gave important information regarding shipping department’s corruption, ACC sources said.
In response to the query regarding anti-corruption rule from The New Nation, ACC Divisional Director Akhter Hossain said that the investigation team cannot arrest any government official on the charges of corruption without prior permission of the government.
When contacted, Shipping Secretary Abdus Samad said that the arrestee is a government employee. So, the departmental action against him will be taken as per the government’s service rules. Commodore Syed Ariful Islam said that they have already taken measures to make the shipping office free of corruption.

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