Probe report recommends looking into whether there are similar irregularities in other DAE projects
The Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) does not want to punish its officials responsible for fixing unusual prices for goods to be purchased under the agricultural mechanisation project.
Dr Md Abdul Muyeed, director general at the DAE, said, "Those involved in the scandal might have nefarious motives behind setting abnormal prices for the project goods. However, they could not misappropriate the funds as no product was bought.
"So, we will not terminate them but warn them strongly so that they do not repeat such a misdeed in the future."
The DAE probe body, headed by AKM Monirul Alam, additional director at the DAE, identified two officials involved in the irregularities.
They are Sheikh Mohammad Nazim Uddin, a former project director of the agricultural mechanisation project phases 1 and 2, and Rehena Sultana, an official at the DAE's planning, project implementation and ICT wing.
On Sunday, the probe body submitted a report to the DAE director general.
DAE officials said the investigation committee prepared the report on the basis of on-the-spot market verification and interviews with different officials concerned and their written opinions. The report noted that many products had been priced unusually high.
The anomalies in the project purchase came to the fore after the report titled "How much does a Boti cost? It costs Tk10k for govt" was published in The Business Standard on July 19.
The Executive Committee of National Economic Council gave its go-ahead to the project worth Tk3,020 crore on July 14.
According to the report, the issue of inflated pricing of project products managed to pass by as the cost rationalisation meeting on the project proposal in the DAE was not held.
The 16-page probe report recommended looking into whether there are similar irregularities in other DAE projects.
Meanwhile, the probe committee, formed by the agriculture ministry, will submit its report to the agriculture secretary on August 20.
Additional Secretary to the agriculture ministry Md Abdur Rauf, convener of the committee, said they would identify the culprits and submit a report.
The ministry would take a final decision on what actions would be taken against those involved, he added.