Transport contractors and officials of the Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation misappropriated hundreds of tonnes of fertiliser valued around Tk 2 billion from the 2015-16 to the 2016-17 fiscal.
The contractors claimed they had taken the fertiliser to the buffer warehouse of the state-run BCIC in Santahar, Naogaon, but in reality there was no such fertiliser in the warehouse nor was it taken to the farmers.
BCIC looks after the production, import and distribution of fertiliser through traders across the country.
In its own probe report, BCIC charged Nabir Uddin Khan, a former BCIC official who was in-charge of the buffer stock warehouse, its former accountant Masudur Rahman, and six fertiliser transportation companies, for the misappropriation of Tk 2 billion worth of fertiliser.
The companies are Bulk Trade International, Nabab and Company, Poton Traders, South Delta Shipping and Trading, Rex Motors, and Gramsico Limited.
A seven-member team led by BCIC director Lutfar Rahman submitted the probe report to the BCIC chairman on 31 August last.
According to the report, a total of 57,936.75 metric tonnes of fertiliser existed on paper with proof of import, transportation and stock, but no fertiliser could be found in the warehouse.
BCIC chairman Shah Md Aminul Haq told Prothom Alo that BCIC officials with complicity of contractors filched the fertiliser worth Tk billions.
The BCIC investigation report said that Nabir Uddin Khan was the in-charge of the warehouse in March, 2016 while receiving a consignment of fertiliser from the South Delta Shipping.
Masudur Rahman took the charge of the warehouse after Nabir’s retirement.
When the BCIC started the investigation, Masudur said Nabir embezzled the fertiliser carried by the South Delta Shipping and Trading. However, the BCIC headquarters then paid bills of truck transportation without verifying papers.
BCIC deputy director Rezaul Karim, who granted the bills, said he did not notice any flaws in the papers.
The Anti-Corruption Commission is also investigating BCIC’s fertiliser misappropriation.
Meanwhile, BCIC director (commercial) Abdul Hye told Prothom Alo that Nabir and Masudur had complicity with transport contractors.
The contractors carried no fertiliser to the warehouse but collected most of their transport bills.
Executive officer of the South Delta Shipping and Trading told Prothom Alo, ”The complaint that has been raised against us is baseless. We handed over the fertiliser to the (BCIC) officials and collected our bills accordingly.”
Kamrul Ashraf Khan MP of Narsingdi-2 constituency, ”We have proof that we carried the fertiliser to the warehouse. The fertiliser inside the warehouse isn’t our responsibility.”
BCIC director Lutfar Rahman told Prothom Alo, ”We found in our investigation that a total of 57,936.75 metric tonnes of fertiliser didn’t enter the warehouse.”
Masudur’s wife told Prothom Alo that her husband did not want to talk while Nabir could not be contacted after several attempts, but he is apparently a fugitive.
*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Imam Hossain