BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Sunday alleged that the government has ‘hired middlemen' in the procurement of coronavirus vaccine to indulge in corruption.
"The government has hired middlemen for procuring the vaccine instead of directly buying it only to indulge in corruption. This move has created a scope of plundering public money through different tricks,” he said.
Speaking at a press conference at BNP Chairperson’s Gulshan office, Fakhrul also accused the government of commenting on a criminal and immoral act by recruiting middlemen who are holding the office of benefits.
“The meeting of our BNP National Standing Committee considers that the involvement of a person who is holding the government’s office of benefits in the vaccine procurement is an illegal and offensive act,” he said.
The BNP leader said the government’s coronavirus vaccine procurement process is not clear to people. “It’s now uncertain whether people will get the vaccine or not due to nepotism, corruption and obscurity in the process of importing the lifesaving vaccine.”
He said their party is deeply worried like the country’s people about the arrival of the vaccine in the country as the government has so far not been able to set a specific time to receive it here.
"There’s still no confirmation that we’ll get the vaccine from India as the Indian High Commissioner has said their country will decide it after meeting the local demand. Their foreign secretary also made a similar comment,” the BNP leader observed.
Referring to media reports, he said India will give priority to Sri Lanka first in providing the vaccine as it made such an agreement with that country “These issues are still unclear and the people of Bangladesh are going to be deceived again.”
He said the collection of vaccine is a matter of priority to protect people’s lives. “But they’re indulging in corruption in the vaccine procurement process. It has demonstrated once again that this is completely an irresponsible government which has no responsibility to the people."
The BNP secretary general said their party standing committee voiced deep concern over the government’s decision to entrusted ‘controversial’ Beximco Group with the responsibility of importing corona vaccine.
He said the BNP standing committee members had a virtual meeting on Saturday where they discussed the country’s latest situation and worked out different action programmes of the party.
Also read:BNP to stage nationwide demo on Dec 30
They also urged people to pray for the speedy recovery of their ailing colleague Moudud Ahmed as he has been receiving treatment at a city Hospital since December 29.
BNP on Friday turned down Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s address to the nation as a “black document of falsehood”.
"Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of midnight's authoritarian government has blatantly lied in her address to the nation yesterday (Thursday). Her misleading speech is nothing more than blunt rhetoric,” said BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.
He said, "We want to make it clear that the statements made by the Prime Minister on so-called development of the country, improving the lifestyle of people, economic progress, bringing positive changes in the health sector, ensuring the rule of law and taking a stance against corruption are black documents of lies. People have rejected it with hatred.”
The Prime Minister addressed the nation on Thursday evening marking the second anniversary of the incumbent government.
Sheikh Hasina formed the government for the third consecutive term as her party got a landslide victory in the 11th parliamentary election held on December 30 2018.
Rizvi said the Awami League-government has turned the country into a “den of corrupt people” while Tk nine lakh crore has been siphoned off in a decade, bankrupting the country’s banks.
He said the ruling party men plundered huge public money and built their second homes in different countries, including Canada. “That’s why I say, no matter what speech the Prime Minister gives, she earned a bad name of an autocrat in the world.”
The BNP leader alleged that Awami League imposed a ‘rule of darkness’ over the last one decade by resorting to exploitation, oppression, killing, enforced disappearance and plundering.
“All the state organisations have been destroyed only to satisfy the desire for power of only one person. In fact, Bangladesh has gone through a decade of annihilation of democracy, deprivation of the right to vote, widespread incidents of murder, abduction, enforced disappearance, rape, money laundering, corruption, looting, criminalisation and misrule,” he observed.
Rizvi said Awami League is using the slogan of “so-called” development to fool people by deporting justice, equality, human rights and the spirit of the Liberation War.
"The so-called development of Ayub Khan, the only ousted dictator, can be compared to a decade of rule by the vicious circle of those in power in the name of development. We would like to say those who want to mark a decade of so-called development by snatching democracy, depriving people of their voting right and freedom of speech will face the fall like that of dictator Ayub Khan,” he said.
About the Prime Minister’s speech over the country’s development and GDP growth, the BNP leader said, “When many of the country have to spend the night without food, low-income people can't afford to buy daily essentials and the children can't go to school, then these are bizarre stories of development and GDP growth.”
He said common people are going through serious sufferings due to the price hike of rice, pulses, oil and other essential commodities. “Amid such a situation, the Prime Minister is telling the story of development from the safe zone. Because she doesn't want to face people.”
The BNP leader said the government and its loyalists are talking about the fulfilment of a decade of the authoritarian rule of the Awami League. “There has been more plundering than development in one decade…they’re finding success after holding three fake national elections by showing a few crocodile cubs of the mega project for ages.”
He said Awami League government's success for a decade is that the country’s people are now suffering from a sense of insecurity and they are worried about their livelihoods.
Rizvi said Awami League's master plan on corona vaccine is now as clear as water to people. "People now know the government is playing a trick over the vaccine. The Prime Minister in her speech said that the corona vaccine has been arranged as India is going to export it. But the Indian High Commissioner said it is not certain when the vaccine will come to Bangladesh.”
He said Awami League's self-made lies about vaccination have been exposed through the Indian envoy’s comment. “What they (govt) are saying and making promises is complete nonsense and lies. “Playing with people’s lives is the history and tradition of Awami League.”
A permanent pacemaker was successfully implanted in the heart of ailing BNP Standing Committee Member Moudud Ahmed on Thursday.
The two-hour surgery was done at the capital's Evercare Hospital, said Moudud’s personal assistant Mominur Rahman Sujan.
Also read: Fakhrul visits ailing Moudud at hospital
“A permanent pacemaker has been implanted in his heart. He regained sense after the successful surgery. He also spoke to the doctors,” he said.
Sujan said the BNP leader was taken to the intensive care unit in the evening.
He said the pacemaker implant surgery was carried out after the decision of a medical board.
Also read: Moudud’s health condition worsens
Earlier on Tuesday, the authorities of the Evercare Hospital, where Moudud was admitted last week, formed a six-member medical board for him.
A pacemaker is a small, battery-operated device which senses when one’s heart is beating irregularly or too slowly. It sends a signal to one’s heart that makes one’s heartbeat at the correct pace.
BNP Vice-Chairman AZM Zahid Hossain told UNB that Moudud has been suffering from various diseases, including anaemia, blood pressure, thyroid and heart problems.
Also read: BNP leader Moudud hospitalised
He said the BNP leader’s condition worsened on Tuesday as he suffered a mild stroke.
On December 29, Moudud was admitted to the hospital after he had fallen ill due to low level of hemoglobin.
Jatiya Party Chairman GM Quader on Thursday alleged that people’s worries over getting a coronavirus vaccine are not diminishing for lack of the government’s effective steps.
“People don’t know when and how they’ll get the vaccine. The government has signed an agreement with India for the vaccine. One and a half to two and a half crore people may get this vaccine,” he said.
GM Quader said, “But no one knows how the remaining 15-16 crore people will have it. So, the anxiety of people about the availability of the corona vaccine is not reducing.”
He made the remarks while exchanging views with journalists at a city hotel.
Stating that the new strains of coronavirus are being found in different places of the world, the Jatiya Party chief warned that people will face a terrible situation if the virus spreads further in the country.
He alleged that corona-infected people are not getting proper treatment at hospitals in divisional cities and district towns. “Corona treatment is available at some government hospitals in the capital and at different private hospitals. But it’s so expensive that common people can’t afford it at private hospitals.”
Also read: No business over Covid vaccine: GM Quader
GM Quader said people still do not know what steps the government has taken to provide, transport and distribute the corona vaccine. “We also have no visible policy over who will be vaccinated on a priority basis.”
He said the fatalities from Covid-19 are much lower in the country as some sort of immunity has developed in people’s bodies by staying in an unhealthy environment and consuming adulterated food and water and inhaling polluted air. “Had the corona-infected people got some treatment, the number of deaths would have been very small in the country.”
The Jatiya Party chairman also said the health ministry cannot claim credit for the lower death rate from coronavirus. “Hospitals still don’t have the required number of doctors. Steps have been taken to improve the corona treatment at some public hospitals. But no one knows when this work will be completed.”
Also read: Vaccine should be free for all: GM Quader
He suggested the government to keep a sufficient amount of rice in silos to face any bad situation as no one knows when the corona pandemic will be over.
“Many countries in the world don’t export rice. Because rice is not available even with huge money when it’s needed during the crucial time. So, it's important to stockpile rice by the government even if it costs some extra money,” GM Quader said.
BNP leader Ruhul Kabir Rizvi on Thursday alleged that the government has been playing tricks to plunder public money in the name of procuring coronavirus vaccine.
“The Health Secretary is saying it’s a G2G (Government to Government) agreement with India while Beximco saying it’s a commercial one. Whom do you believe? We think the government has started playing tricks over the corona vaccine,” he said.
Speaking at a discussion, Rizvi said the government has created a scope to make huge money by procuring the vaccine from India through Beximco. “The health secretary was instructed to say it’s a G2G agreement to hush up the government’s ploy.”
The Center for Nationalism Studies arranged the programme on border killing at Dhaka Reporters' Unity (DRU).
Rizvi, the BNP senior joint secretary general, said Beximco signed the deal with the Serum Institute of India for collecting the vaccine and thus made huge money. “Many people will get shares of this money. That’s why the Health Secretary is trying to cover up the matter.”
He said Beximco Pharmaceutical Company did not made the deal with India to protect people’s interests or to tackle the pandemic by bringing the vaccine. “They did it as part of a terrible conspiracy to steal public money.”
Also read: Bangladesh bets big on Covid vaccines
The BNP leader said the Ecnece meeting on Tuesday approved a project of around Tk 6,000 crore to buy the corona vaccine, paving the way for huge corruption. “We can say the entire amount of this money will be plundered… a large amount of the money will illegally go to government high-ups.”
He alleged Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader have been staying home to remain protected from the virus by pushing people towards death. “Those who rule the country with such selfishness can never be friends of people.”
About border killing, Rizvi said the incidents of killing of Bangladeshis by the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) is growing due to the government’s "knee-jerking" foreign policy.
"The current government which came to power without voters’ support and mandate has surrendered its soul to India. They’ve been working as a slave of those who has kept them in power,” he observed.
The BNP leader criticised the government for what he said its failure to control the unusual price hike of essentials.
He said their party leaders and activists at thana level formed human chains today (Thursday) protesting the continuous rise in the prices of essentials and demanding the resignation of the Commerce Minister. “It’s a demand of people that the prices of essentials be reduced immediately.”