Two directors of the Directorate General of Health Services and two additional secretaries of the health ministry were involved in the scam
Several senior officials of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) and the health ministry helped JKG Health Care to obtain Covid-19 test contract from the authorities, the hospital's CEO Ariful Islam Chowdhury told investigating officers.
According to sources at the Detective Branch (DB) of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), two directors of the DGHS and two additional secretaries of the health ministry were involved in the scam.
Both the JKG Health Care Chairman Dr Sabrina Arif Chowdhury and its Chief Executive officer (CEO) Ariful Islam Chowdhury said this during interrogation at the second phase of their remand.
Police are trying to piece together evidences regarding their claims.
According to the source, the top officials at the DGHS and the health ministry and JKG CEO Ariful set a target of earning Tk500 core provided that the pandemic prevails till December this year. They planned to acquire this sum by providing fake Covid-19 certificates and by receiving money from government under a project.
They also planned to share the money among themselves, Ariful and Sabrina revealed this information to investigators.
DB officials said Ariful and Sabrina got acquainted with the senior officials at the DGHS and the health ministry when Ariful's event management firm Oval Group organised a health ministry event.
Sources at the Detective Branch said JKG Health Care earned Tk3.5 core by providing fake Covid-19 certificates.
Ariful kept the money to two businessmen in Gulshan and Banani areas in Dhaka. The detectives have identified them, and will conduct drives to recover the money, said sources.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police Detective Branch Additional Commissioner Abdul Baten told reporters on Saturday that Sabrina used her connections at the DGHS and the health ministry to get permission for Coid-19 test and then faked certificates.
Dr Sabrina, a cardiac surgeon at the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases, is the Ariful's wife.
She was recently suspended by the health ministry for her involvement with a private organisation without permission.
"Since Sabrina is a government officer and there are protocols for what a government officer can do and how they should be treated if any violations are found, police will inform the DGHS which will take further action about it," said Additional Commissioner Abdul Baten.
He also said, "There were criminal offences and breach of professional code of conduct in this case. Detectives will investigate criminal offences separately and inform the DGHS about the alleged breach of code of conduct by the senior officials."
Tejgaon police arrested Sabrina on July 12 by and on the following day she was sent to police custody to be quizzed for three days.
Earlier, Ariful was arrested on June 23 and police seized over 15,000 fake Covid-19 certificates from JKG laptops.
DB investigators said they have interrogated and crossed-examined Sabrina and Ariful over the Covid-19 test scam and they continued blaming each other.
The investigator said they quizzed the couple together for once where Sabrina was firm to her claim that it was her husband Ariful who was behind falsifying coronavirus test reports.