The Financial Express

HC seeks report from CAG, BPC over irregularities of Tk 4.72b by SAOCL

| Updated: December 01, 2022 15:39:30

File photo (Collected) File photo (Collected)

The High Court has ordered the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and the Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) to inform it without any fail about their steps taken against the irregularities of Tk 4.72 billion by Standard Asiatic Oil Company Ltd (SAOCL), a subsidiary of the BPC, by January 5 in 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 into the matter by the same time.

The HC bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Khizir Hayat passed the order on Wednesday after hearing a Suo Moto rule issued earlier by this 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 High Court bench issued the rule on November 6 this year.

The report said, "The government has been deprived of Tk 4.72 billion for 21 counts of irregularities by Standard Asiatic Oil Company, a subsidiary of the Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation, found an audit.

The disclosure comes after the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) 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 read the report.

In the rule the HC wanted to know from the authorities concerned of the government to explain as to why their inaction to take measures against the irregularities of the BPC's concern, Standard Asiatic Oil Company, should not be declared illegal.

Chairmen of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), the BPC and the Comptroller and Auditor General 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 organization on October 10 in 2019 issued a letter to its higher authority, ministry of energy, for conducting a probe into the corruption allegation committed by the Standard Asiatic Oil Company Ltd by the ACC. Later the ministry issued a letter to the ACC on March November 13 in 2019 for the same purpose. A case was also filed on March 9 in 2021 against the company in a Chattogram Court.

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