A Bangladeshi court sent the former deputy commissioner of the port town of Cox’s Bazar to jail as part of an investigation into embezzling funds from the proposed Matarbari coal-burning power plant. The chief judge in the case rejected a request for bail filed by the accused commissioner.

According to case files, a syndicate of 36 people embezzled more than $US 55 million (Tk 46,24,03,320) by disguising payouts as compensation for the purchase of 25 shrimp enclosures at the project area, which includes a proposed port for importing the coal to be burned at the plant. The scheme was discovered in In 2014 by the project’s Land Acquisition Officer, who noticed irregularities while processing five checks to disburse the compensation money. The case was then taken over by Bangladesh’s Anti-Corruption Commission, which ultimately filed the charges. In all, five people have been arrested, including another former deputy commissioner of Cox’s Bazar. The previous four suspects were all released on bail.

The initial price tag to build the 1,200-megawatt project and dredged coal port came in at $US 4.5 billion, an amount the Bangladeshi newspaper The Daily Star called “staggering.”

 

Sources:

– The Dhaka Tribune

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