Audit report : Massive irregularities in LGED road repairing works alleged
Massive irregularities have been alleged in the name of road repairs in Local Government Engineering Department (LGED).
One and a half crore taka was embezzled in the name of renovation of pucca road in Lalmonirhat. A bill of Tk 3 crore 93 lakh has been paid to the contractor from the Rangpur Division Development Project in the name of repairing the link road without work.
Apart from this, 4 crore taka were wasted by showing the renovation of the road longer than its length, 5 crore taka were spent by showing the construction of non-existent roads and money was embezzled despite showing the renovation of multiple projects on the same road.
These irregularities have been detected in the compliance audit report related to the accounts of the 2019-2020 financial year of rural infrastructure construction and development activities under implementation by LGED.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Accounts of the Jatiya Sangsad is looking into these irregularities in the light of the recommendations of the report.
According to the audit report, LGED's Lalmonirhat Executive Engineer's office has not done any work in the financial year 2019-20, but the bill of 3 culverts of Kakina Shyamkardha-Mahipur-Burihat JC Road in Kaliganj Upazila has been paid. On January 13, 2021, in the presence of LGED's Kaliganj Upazila Engineer, the inspection team found that there is no repair work on the culvert and bridge connecting road.
As per the opinion of the local residents, little work has been done in the name of repair of the mentioned 3 culverts and 2 bridges on the connecting roads. According to the estimate, Mativarti geo bags were supposed to be provided on both sides of the connecting road of the bridge, but in reality only a small number of bags filled with sand were seen. CC blocks were provided on both sides of the connecting road by LGED in 2016 when the construction of the bridges was implemented.
In the name of repair, CC block work is shown by re-estimating in the financial year 2019-20, but in reality, both sides of the road are in a severely damaged condition. This proves that the repair was not done as per the estimate. Apart from that, despite the lack of resources for that work in DPP, financial loss has been caused to the government by showing collusive performance with the contractor as per rule 127 (2) (b) (c) of PPR-2008 by preparing estimates, approving and paying bills.
Apart from this, a review of work order, contract, bill-voucher of Hazrania Hat to Chamterhat road development works at Lalmonirhat shows that the chainage of the road from zero meter to 4410 meters, total 4410 meters of the road has been renovated as dirt road. But according to the Road Inventory published in 2019, that Road chainage from 0 m to 1956 m Total 1956 m of bituminous carpeting road exists. Therefore, by making the bituminous carpeting road a dirt road, the government has incurred financial loss by paying an additional bill of Tk 1 crore 61 lakh 69 thousand to the contractor. It is alleged that this money has been shared by the contractor and the concerned engineer.
On the other hand, 11 in LGED Patuakhali district and 4 in Tangail district with a total length of 60,440 meters of 15 roads were paid to the contractor as per the contract. But according to the road database published by the local government engineering department, the total length of the said 15 roads is 54,330 meters. As a result, an additional 6,110 meters of length is shown in the name of development works
The report mentions that the government has suffered a loss of Tk 4.9 million in two districts due to approving the estimate and paying the contract. In this regard, the audit department was informed in writing from the office of the concerned executive engineer of LGED - the length of the work done is similar to the updated road inventory. Also, during preparation of estimates, actual road length was determined, which was more than the existing length in inventory.
However, the audit department says LGED's reply, though affirmative, is not helpful in resolving objections. Because in this case, the government has been financially damaged by providing financial benefits to the contractor by determining the length of the existing road. Therefore, the excess payment must be collected from the responsible persons and deposited in the government treasury.
The report further states that the Project Director Important Rural Infrastructure Development Project (Barisal, Jhalkathi and Pirojpur Districts) (BJP) under LGED and Executive Engineer, Patuakhali District Office has caused a loss of Tk. During the audit, LGED, Jhalkathi office 2, Pirojpur office 1 and Patuakhali office 6.
A review of approved estimates, tenders and road database published by the Department of Local Government Engineering for a total of 9 schemes shows that out of the 9 schemes, serial no. 1 and 2 of the annexure under BJP scheme have the same road ID No-542435409 and road serial no. 3 Against ID No.-579144223, it has been shown that by approving the total estimate of 4 crore 47 lakh taka in the name of road construction through 3 packages, issuing the work order to the contractor and paying 2 crore 56 lakh 84 thousand taka.
Similarly, the estimated value approved by the Executive Engineer, LGED, Patuakhali office for the works of 6 schemes under implementation is Tk 3 crore 57 lakh. Against those 6 schemes, there is no road database of June 2020 published by the engineering department to see the issue of work order to the contractor and payment of Tk 2 crore 57 lakh 99 thousand. In other words, the government has suffered financial loss by paying this bill to the contractor showing road development and bridge construction through 9 packages of non-existent roads.
In a written reply to the audit department, the BJP project said that the schemes are included in the DPP. The answer will be reviewed later. The Patuakhali office of LGED said that the updated road inventory is being revised to include all roads. However, the audit department's reply is not helpful in resolving objections, commenting that the audit department said that the schemes are included in the DPP, but there is no road ID in the road database published by the local government engineering department in June 2020.
Road not found
Apart from that, it is not acceptable. This karth is recoverable. President of the Government Accounts Committee of the Jatiya Sangsa Rustom Ali Faraji said that the Parliamentary Committee is scrutinizing many audit objections related to financial irregularities of various government departments and organizations.
It is recommended to identify those involved in the irregularities by holding regular meetings and collect the money from them and deposit it in the government treasury. Appropriate action will also be recommended against those involved in LGED's audit objections.