The government will take tough actions against those who have helped senior bureaucrats obtain fake freedom-fighter certificates, Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Muzammel Hoque has said.
“The people who helped those secretaries to become freedom-fighters, those that signed the fake certificates and those who approved them, all will come under investigations,” he said at a programme in Chittagong on Saturday.
This would begin very soon, he added.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) recently found out that four secretaries and a joint secretary had obtained fake freedom-fighter certificates to extend their service tenure by a year.
They are Health Secretary Niaz Uddin Miah, Public Service Commission Secretary AKM Amir Hossain, former PMO Secretary Molla Waheeduzzaman, now chairman of the Privatisation Commission, former Liberation War Affairs Secretary KH Masud Siddique, currently OSD (officer on special duty), and the same ministry’s Joint Secretary Abul Kasem Talukder, also an OSD now.
After that, the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs cancelled the certificates and relevant gazettes of four of them.
But Molla Waheeduzzaman’s certificate was only ‘withheld’.
Apart from departmental cases, these five officials may face charges of fraud in line with public service rules.
However, the Ministry of Public Administration is still dragging its feet on any action even after announcing that these bureaucrats would face tough measures.
One of them, Niaz Uddin Miah is already in the United States as a member of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s entourage.
The liberation war affairs minister said according to the law the public administration ministry was supposed to take actions against government employees.
“We have cancelled the certificates of the accused and recommended the public administration ministry to take measures. We hope they will do that.”
Regarding one of the accused, Niaz, getting a place on the prime minister’s entourage, AKM Muzammel Hoque said, “The prime minister herself does not select the members of her delegation. They are selected two months prior to every visit.”
Asked whether the ACC would be able to take any steps, he said, “The ACC can only submit the investigation report, but the court will deliver the final verdict.”
The minister said the government would begin scrutinising freedom-fighter certificates from the Upazila level very soon. “The time and date will be decided on Oct 12 at a meeting of the ministry.”
New certificates would be made and provided using modern technology to prevent anyone from obtaining fake ones, he said.
The minister also assured that freedom-fighter allowance would be raised to Tk 10,000 from July. He said he would take initiatives to provide free services to the freedom-fighters at all state-run hospitals and transportations.