An investigation commission of Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) on Tuesday claimed that the actual quantity of stolen coal from the Barapukuria Coal Mine was 5.48 lath tons higher than what was estimated by the Anti-corruption Commission (ACC).
The CAB investigation commission disclosed its finding at a press conference at Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU) in the city.
Head of the investigation commission Syed Abul Maksud read out its report while CAB adviser Prof M Shamsul Alam, commission members Prof Badrul Imam, Prof MM Akash, Prof Susanta Kumar Das, and member secretary architect Mobasher Hossain responded to various questions from reporters.
They said they have covered all the aspects of coal extraction and delivery during the period between 2005 and 2018.
They said they checked all the documents and found that not only the 23 officials of Barapukuria Coal Mine Company, who were previously identified, but also many officials of Petrobangla and Energy Division and that of state-owned Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) were involved in the pilferage.
Earlier, the Energy Division admitted that it has got 1.44 lakh tons of coal missing from its stock, prompting the ACC to file a case against 19 officials of Coal Mining Company and Petrobangla. The case is now pending for trial.
The CAB investigation commission said it is interesting that the government had signed contract with Chinese mine operating company fixing the moisture of coal at 2.3 percent while the Coal Mining Company signed contract with its buyer BPDB fixing the moisture at 5.1 percent. While selling it to the BPDB, the moisture was fixed at 10 percent, it said.
Again, when the BPDB calculated this moisture, it fixed the rate at 15 percent, the commission said.
So there is huge inconsistency in the coal trading and transactions and through this ‘unfair’ process and some 5.48 lakh tons of coal was stolen in the last 13 years, it said.
They said this stolen coal was sold out to different private businessmen through receiving DO letters from different ministers and members of parliament.
“We’ve talked to the officials of Barapukuria Coal Mining Company and analysed all the relevant documents to prepare our reports and reach a conclusion about the total stolen coal,” said Syed Abul Maksud.
He said there must be an embargo on selling of coal to private parties through which a big scope is created for stealing coal.
Abul Maksud, however, said the investigation commission will submit its report to the government for taking action against the corrupt officials found guilty.
He said this is unfortunate that the government investigated and found 23 officials guilty and now it is trying to relive them from the charge.
Abul Maksud also said that the 79-page full report of the commission will be available on the CAB website for public and anybody can go through the report.