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Sunday, August 26, 2012
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Padma Bridge Loan Revival

Mashiur not going yet

The adviser denies graft allegation; Muhith says letter to WB ready, not sending for a 'hitch' in it

Mashiur Rahman

Prime minister's Adviser Mashiur Rahman has denied any involvement in the alleged corruption in the Padma bridge project, and said the government has not yet asked him to resign in its efforts to revive the World Bank financing for the project.

Talking with The Daily Star over the phone yesterday, the PM's economic affairs adviser said if there were corruption allegations against him over the project, both the government and the WB could make those public.

Finance ministry officials said Mashiur's removal is the last hurdle for the government to convince the global lender to revive its $1.2 billion loan that it had cancelled in June. And it must be done by this week.

The WB gave a clear signal to the government that it would withdraw the loan cancellation if the government implemented its three conditions, including the removal of former communication minister Syed Abul Hossain and adviser Mashiur Rahman. The government has to provide the WB with documents about their removal.

The government has prepared a draft letter with the help of the WB's Dhaka office requesting the project's lead financier to withdraw its loan cancellation, said the officials.

“We have already prepared a draft letter. But there is a hitch. The letter will be sent when the hitch is gone,” Finance Minister AMA Muhith said yesterday without giving any details about “the hitch”.

In an interview with private TV station Channel i, Muhith said they had reached an understanding with the WB after prolonged talks, and said the WB might withdraw the loan cancellation.

However, the WB told the government that even if it revives its loan agreement, it would require at least six months to start the project's work. But the government did not agree to it, said Muhith.

The finance minister said if everything went smoothly, tenders will be invited afresh in October or November.

However, a finance ministry source said there was uncertainty about the resignation of the prime minister's economic affairs adviser.

Mashiur told The Daily Star yesterday, “I have no part to play in the construction or implementation of the Padma bridge project. So the question of my involvement in the alleged corruption does not arise.”

“If anyone makes any complaint to me, it is my responsibility as the project's integrity adviser to settle it. I have no scope for making money from the project.”

Asked whether he had knowledge of the WB's allegations against him, Mashiur said, “I don't know about this. The finance minister may know it if the WB has already informed him about this.”

In reply to a query whether his name was on the list of public officials the WB had recommended sending on leave, he said, “I have not seen the list. So I cannot say.”

On whether the government had asked him to step down, he said, “Nobody has told me anything about it.”

The co-financiers of the project -- Asian Development Bank and Japan International Cooperation Agency -- extended their loan effectuation date till August 30, meaning that the government has to reach an agreement with the WB within this month.

The WB in September last year suspended its promised $1.2 billion funding for the country's biggest infrastructure project over corruption allegations.

The global lender cancelled its loan agreement in June on the grounds that all its conditions had not been met.

The government started fresh talks with the WB early this month and they are now at the final stage. The government with the help of the WB's Dhaka office prepared a draft letter mentioning the government steps, said a finance ministry source.

The documents that have to be furnished with the letter include the gazette notification on the acceptance of Abul's resignation, terms of reference regarding the ACC probe into graft allegations over the project, the letter of acceptance on the resignation of the adviser concerned.

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Later or sooner the convicted will step down.

: hussain

A careful and thorough inquiry is required.

: Saleh Md. Shahriar

Comments

  • Third Eye
    Sunday, August 26, 2012 03:00 AM GMT+06:00 (100 weeks ago)

    There is no doubt that Moshiur Rahman is not aware of allegation officially with specific charges dully investigated by the assigned agency of Bangladesh and being prosecuted in the court of law. So do not point the fingers at him right now. The whole resignation process is nothing but a political process chosen by the global lender to justify their cancellation of Padma bridge loan. It is the responsibility of the lender and the allegation maker to prove their allegation in the court of law. They might succeed in political trail for resignation of few public servants but the truth will not be established unless prosecuted and tried in the court of law.

  • Upfront
    Sunday, August 26, 2012 04:21 AM GMT+06:00 (100 weeks ago)

    Is it not strange that the people of a democratic country have been made very ignorant about what is happening regarding the Padma bridge and its loan availability.

  • Reaz Hassan
    Sunday, August 26, 2012 11:12 AM GMT+06:00 (100 weeks ago)

    If the options are Dr. Moshiur Rahman and the World Bank funding for the Padma Bridge, we want the latter.

  • Farid Ahmed
    Sunday, August 26, 2012 04:38 AM GMT+06:00 (100 weeks ago)

    Dr Mashiur has agreed that WB allegation can be published. If so then, let Abdul Muhit publish the WB doc. If his name is there he would take his decision.

  • ask
    Sunday, August 26, 2012 04:41 AM GMT+06:00 (100 weeks ago)

    Leaders are supposed to care more for the country than themselves but then there are Bangladeshi leaders. Why does anybody has to ask him? If his presence is hindering a national project, he should resign.

  • drkarim
    Sunday, August 26, 2012 05:47 AM GMT+06:00 (100 weeks ago)

    National interest is more than personal interest or party interest

    be technical. Please resign for the sake of national interest.

  • Shimul
    Sunday, August 26, 2012 06:53 AM GMT+06:00 (100 weeks ago)

    Initially, the government was so arrogant that it denied all allegations and tried to put the blame on others. Now it is bowing down to WB's demands.

  • pothik
    Sunday, August 26, 2012 06:57 AM GMT+06:00 (100 weeks ago)

    We do not understand why Masiur Rahman does not go as his names come out.

  • Roni Rahman
    Sunday, August 26, 2012 08:20 AM GMT+06:00 (100 weeks ago)

    Is the self-denial of an unelected adviser bigger than the interests of 160m people? How dare to even think of such stand and sacrificing the Padma bridge for the interest of a sole individual? How does AL accommodate these types of people?

  • Deep Purple Blue
    Sunday, August 26, 2012 12:28 AM GMT+06:00 (100 weeks ago)

    Now the whole country knows about his alleged misdeeds but he being an adviser to the PM with the rank of a minister is not aware of the allegations! Kidding - is he? Thinks people are fools and he is smart, no?

  • Asma Tuhin
    Sunday, August 26, 2012 12:22 AM GMT+06:00 (100 weeks ago)

    Like Moshiur, Abul Hossain still maintains that he was not involved in corrruption on the Padma bridge project. Moshiur is supposedly a more enlightened man than Abul - if Abul could go why not him? Nobody is indispensible.


 

 


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