PMO staffer confesses to document scam

12 May 2020

An office assistant at the Prime Minister's Office has made a confessional statement to a court about misappropriating an official document bearing the premier's seal for Tk 20,000 following her arrest in a forgery case.
The accused, identified as 'Fatema', was apprehended on Sunday and produced before the Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate's Court, according to Tejgaon Police OC Shamim-ur-Rashid. The court subsequently ordered her into jail after recording her statement.
According to the case dossier, a document containing the prime minister's decision regarding the education ministry's three-man shortlist for the post of treasurer at North South University or NSU was 'stolen' from the PMO and a forged copy was made changing the original decision.
The document was then forwarded from the PMO to Bangabhaban for the president's approval.
A preliminary probe into the matter revealed that Fatema was working in cahoots with Tariqul Islam Momin, vice president of Chhatra League's central committee, and an NSU student named 'Fahad'.
Law-enforcement arrested the Chhatra League leader from Bhola after the PMO started a case with Tejgaon Police Station on May 5.
They also detained Farhad from Noakhali and 'Nazim Uddin', another government office staffer, from the capital's Mohammadpur the same day.
All three were later placed on a 4-day remand after police producted them in court on Saturday.
Fatema was arrested from her residence at Motijheel Government T&T colony.
"Fatema confessed to passing the document containing the prime minister's orders for Tk 20,000 and also named the others involved in the scam," said Shamim.
The education ministry had sent a document to the PMO, proposing the names of Prof M Enamul Haque from NSU, Prof Md Abdur Rouf from BUET and former treasurer of BUP, Rtd Air Commodore M Abdus Salam Azad, for the NSU treasurer's post, according to the case dossier.
The prime minister went through the document and put a tick mark beside the name of Enamul Haque but the document was intercepted before it could reach the president's office. The forgers then put a 'cross' next to the names of two candidates, including the prime minister's pick for the job, and put a 'checkmark' beside Azad's name.
Chhatra League leader Momin is believed to have committed the offence in exchange for a 'huge sum of money', an investigation officer told
"We'll investigate further to see if he took the money from Abdus Salam Azad. We'll check the bank accounts of the relevant people if necessary."
Abdus Salam Azad denied being involved in any transaction with the accused.
He claimed that he was only aware of the fact that his name had come up in the forgery case but had no links to any of the suspects.
But when pressed further on the matter by, he admitted speaking to Tariqul over the phone on a few occasions.
"Tariqul contacted me and said he wanted to do the task for me. I just said no to him. There was no financial transaction," he said, without offering any further details about his relationship with Tariqul.
He believes that he may have been a victim of animosity between the forgers and the other candidates for the job.
"I believe those who changed the prime minister's decision have an enmity with the others so they proposed my name instead to get one over on them."
OC Shamim said the police may have to quiz Azad about the matter in the course of the investigation.
Azad said he would be willing to cooperate with law enforcers if necessary to help them crack the case.

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