FE Today Logo

HC orders CAG, BPC to report on Tk 4.72b SAOCL scam

FE REPORT | December 01, 2022 00:00:00

The High Court on Wednesday ordered the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and the Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) to inform it, without any fail, what steps have been taken against the irregularities of Tk 4.72 billion (472 crore) in Standard Asiatic Oil Company Ltd (SAOCL), a subsidiary of the BPC, by January 5, 2023.

It also asked the BPC to supply all the documents related to the corruption to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for a proper inquiry by that time.

The HC bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Khizir Hayat passed the order after hearing a suo moto rule issued earlier by the court.

Considering a report published in an English daily on November 4 under the headline "A BPC concern robs state coffers of Tk 472.7cr", the HC bench issued the rule on November 6 this year.

The report says, "The government has been deprived of Tk472.7 crore for 21 counts of irregularities by Standard Asiatic Oil Company, found an audit. The disclosure comes after the Comptroller and Auditor General pored over the company's books from fiscal 2012-13 to 2019-20 and made field visits."

The anomalies include embezzlement by top officials, high rates, overtime, missing funds, irregularities in payment of litigation fees and violation of the Income Tax Ordinance and VAT Rules, also reads the report.

In the rule, the HC asked the authorities concerned to explain as to why their inaction to take measures against the irregularities of the BPC's concern, SAOCL, should not be declared illegal.

Chairmen of the ACC and BPC and the CAG had been asked to comply with the rule within 10 days.

Appearing for the BPC, lawyers Mohammed Mezbah Uddin and Md Abdus Samad Azad said in the court hearing that the BPC had been working over the allegations since 2019 when the authorities came to know about it from its internal source.

The organisation on October 10, 2019 issued a letter to its higher authorities, ministry of energy, for conducting a probe into the corruption allegedly committed by the SAOCL by the ACC.

Later the ministry issued a letter to the ACC on November 13, 2019 for the same purpose. A case was also filed on March 9, 2021 against the company in a Chattogram court.

[email protected]

Share if you like