In the face of stern action for obtaining fake freedom fighter certificates, Health Secretary Neaz Uddin Miah and Public Service Commission Secretary AKM Amir Hossain have decided to retire from service voluntarily.
They expressed their intentions by submitting letters to the Public Administration Ministry, Senior Secretary of the ministry Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury confirmed this to the Daily Observer on Thursday.
"We have received the letters from them stating that they want to go into optional retirement. Due process is continuing over this matter," Chowdhury said.
Asked when the process might end, Chowdury said "I cannot say this at this moment."
Sources said Cabinet Secretary Muhammad Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan and the Public Administration Ministry Secretary Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury went to the Prime Minister's Office on Thursday to discuss the issue.
Kamal Naser declined to comment when asked if any instruction for such retirement was given from the government.
According to the Public Servants (Retirement) Act, 1974, if any public servant exercised the opportunity to go into optional retirement, that shall be final and he shall not be permitted to modify or withdraw the notice of retirement. As per the same statute, the two secretaries are not entitled to any pension or other retirement benefits, except his subscriptions to the provident fund and the interest thereon, till the determination of the departmental proceedings started against them for attaining fake freedom fighter certificate by forgery.
On September 24, the Liberation War Affairs Ministry published gazette notifications of rescinding fake FF certificates of four top bureaucrats including Neaz Uddin Miah and AKM Amir Hossain. The other two are-- former Liberation War Affairs Secretary KH Masud Siddiqui, who went into retirement on October 31, and the same ministry's Joint Secretary Abul Kashem Talukder, now an OSD. On the other hand, the FF certificate of former PMO Secretary Molla Wahidduzzaman, now the Chairman of the Privatisation Commission on contract, was withheld as he had not committed any fault rather over enthusiastic officials published the notification of his certificate, Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Muzammel Hoque had said.
Later on October 13, the four were served show cause notices on why action should not be taken against them for their forgery in obtaining FF certificate. They have already submitted their explanations.
Sources said the Health Secretary and the Public Service Commission Secretary chose the optional retirement as they will be disqualified from future employment under the government or under any corporate body established by or under any law if they face dismissal from service for the gross misconduct.
According to the Government Servants (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1985 that deals with departmental proceedings stipulates that the bureaucrats can face dismissal from service, the highest punishment for the gross misconduct, which also disqualifies them from future employment under the government or under any corporate body established by or under any law. In addition, the officials can also be tried in the court for forgery, for which two years imprisonment and fine is the maximum punishment under the Penal Code.
The Public Servants (Retirement) Act, 1974 says, "If any judicial proceedings instituted by the Government or, as the case may be, employer or any departmental proceedings are pending against a public servant at the time of his retirement or, as the case may be, ceasing to be in service, he shall not be entitled to any pension or other retirement benefits, except his subscriptions to any provident fund and the interest thereon, till the determination of such proceedings, and the payment to him of any pension or other retirement benefits shall be subject to the findings in such proceedings."
The senior officials obtained the fake certificates to increase their tenure of service by two years. Except Molla Waheduzzaman, they did not complete the normal age of retirement (57 years), Public Administration Ministry Senior Secretary Kamal Naser had told The Daily Observer.
Sources said Neaz Uddin Miah in his letter said he wanted to retire voluntarily for 'health, family and personal reasons while Amir Hossain said he was in the job for 25 years. The Health Secretary is supposed to go into retirement on December 31.
The Public Servants (Retirement) Act, 1974 says "A public servant may opt to retire from service any time after he has completed twenty-five years of service by giving notice in writing to the appointing authority at least thirty days prior to the date of his intended retirement."