Submit report on Rooppur Nuke Plan furniture purchase: HC

Dhaka, May 20 – The High Court on Monday directed the government to submit the inquiry reports of Ministry of Housing and Public Works over the alleged irregularities in purchasing furniture and other household products for officials and employees of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, before it by June 23.
It directed the attorney general’s office to collect the investigation reports from the committees formed by the housing ministry and to submit those before it by June 23.
In response to a writ petition, the HC bench comprising Justice Tariq ul Hakim and Justice Md Shohrowardi passed the order.
Barrister Sayedul Haque Sumon, a Supreme Court lawyer, filed the writ petition with the HC on Sunday seeking its directive on the government to form a judicial committee to inquire into the allegations.
The petition alleged that an excessive amount of money has reportedly been spent on purchasing furniture, pillows, and other items for the officials and employees of Rooppur plant. The salaries fixed for them are also unusual, according to the petition.
During yesterday’s proceeding, Barrister Suman told the court that unnatural costs were counted for the furniture, other related things and the carrying.
Following the media report, the public works ministry formed the probe body to conduct an investigation over the matter. But, the Public Works Department can’t run an investigation into the matter as the allegation is against themselves. Hence, a judicial inquiry is needed to find the real truth behind the incident, he added.
Opposing his submission, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told the court that the housing ministry already formed two separate inquiry committees to conduct the inquiry into the reported irregularities in purchasing furniture and other household products for Rooppur plant’s officials and employees. At this stage, the HC should not interfere in the matter, the chief law officer of the state added.
Then, the HC directed the attorney general office to submit the probe reports before it by June 23 and kept the petition as ‘stand over’ till June 23.
Following the media report over the matter, the government has formed two probe committees—one from the Ministry of Housing and Public Works and another from the Public Works Department—to investigate the matter.
An additional secretary will lead the ministry’s probe team, while an additional chief engineer will lead the department’s team, read a statement issued by the public works ministry on Sunday.
According to the statement, the ministry does not have any connection with official activities, and approval or appointment of the contractors in the project.
The ministry directed the contractor to keep all sorts of payment suspended until receiving the investigation reports.
According to a media report that went viral on social media, the purchasing prices of various household articles used to furnish the RNPP project apartments were abnormally higher than market prices.
The purchases were made to furnish 966 apartments constructed for the Russian engineers, and officials working on the project.
The media report alleged that each of the pillows was purchased for Tk5,957, and the cost of transporting was Tk760 each, while an electric stove reportedly cost Tk7,747 and transporting it—from the bottom floor to upstairs—cost Tk6,650.
Moreover, the purchasing price of an electric kettle was cited as Tk5,313, and its transportation cost cited as Tk2,945. A vacuum cleaner was reportedly purchased for Tk12,018 and transported upstairs for a
charge of Tk6,650.
The report also claimed the price of an electric iron had been cited as Tk4,154. Transporting the iron cost Tk2,945.
Moreover, a television reportedly cost Tk86,970 and carrying it upstairs cost Tk7,698. A refrigerator also reportedly cost Tk94,250, and its carrying cost was Tk12,521. – Staff Reporter