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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Sunday, November 4, 2012
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Padma Bridge Financing

Confusion back with Mashiur

The World Bank, irked by Mashiur Rahman's claim that he joined office on return from leave, has been told by government officials that the adviser to the prime minister is still on leave.

Mashiur had to go on leave after a prolonged drama at the Bank's insistence that all public officials, including the adviser, against whom corruption allegations have been raised should stay away from office during the probe into the allegations if the Padma bridge loan was to be revived.

But on Thursday, Mashiur told reporters that he joined work at the Prime Minister's Office after a month's leave.

Sending him on leave was one of the WB's key conditions for its revival of $1.2 billion loan.

Following his return, WB's local and Washington offices contacted several key government policymakers on Thursday and Friday to know about Mashiur's current job status. The Bank was told that he was still on leave.

A WB official said they are still confused about the latest development and will closely watch the situation.

Some government officials claim that Mashiur will not take part in any government activities even if he has joined office.

But the WB official said they judge leave as leave, and an individual, who is on leave, would not go to office.

The Washington-based lender cancelled its loan in June this year also because all the public officials, allegedly involved in corruption, were not sent on leave, he told The Daily Star.

The WB agreed to revive the loan following the government's written commitment that it would meet all of the Bank's conditions that include sending on leave all government officials, allegedly involved in corruption.

His return has surprised top government officials and Awami League leaders, who think it could jeopardise the Padma bridge project, one of the key election promises of the ruling party.

A finance ministry official said the WB has never revived any fully cancelled loan in its history. Now, there could be new troubles over the financing of the $2.9 billion project because of an individual, said the official.

Top AL leaders are also embarrassed about his sudden return. They think this would only fuel new debate and bring no good to the government, the country or the party.

The Daily Star talked to a number of ministers and high-profile AL leaders about the Mashiur issue. Most of them expressed resentment at his sudden return.

They said Mashiur's leave has expired. The government neither engaged him in a new job nor dismissed him from his position.

A source at the finance ministry said the issue of Mashiur's leave extension was discussed at a meeting between Finance Minister AMA Muhith and his ministry's high officials.

The minister told them that the prime minister will decide on it after she returns on November 7 from her visit to Vietnam and Laos, said the source.

The Daily Star tried to contact Finance Minister and Prime Minister's Public Administration Adviser HT Imam over the last two days, but they could not be reached.

Mashiur told yesterday that he will go by whatever the prime minister decides for him.

In June, the World Bank cancelled its $1.2 billion loan for the project citing "corruption conspiracy". It said the government must meet three conditions, including sending Mashiur on leave, for the revival of the loan agreement.

The global lender decided to revive its loan on September 21 after the Bangladesh government agreed to its terms and conditions.

It then appointed a three-member external panel early last month to assess the conduct of the ACC investigation. The panel recently visited Dhaka.

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The hide and seek game played over Dr. Mashiur Rahman is damning and discreditable. How can a democratic government professing transparency in governance keep on playing dirty tricks with lender agencies, especially with the World Bank, who are now investigating corruption charges against some Ministers and Advisers including the above named person? Mind you, the World Bank had set certain conditions to review their funding of Padma Bridge project which included sending on leave Dr. Mashiur till investigations are completed. We not only broke our pledge but have resorted to duplicity and blatant lies. Dr. Mashiur has lost the respect of the entire nation, and he should be relieved at once from his duty. He has brought down the image of the country beyond measure. Shame on him.

: Iftikhar-ul-Awwal

Purposefully creating trouble for the country so that the Padma bridge is not built and the investigation into corruption allegation is stopped. But one day facts will come out from Canadian investigation. No escape!

: Deep Purple Blue


  • neutral
    Sunday, November 4, 2012 01:25 AM GMT+06:00 (171 weeks ago)

    Are we interested to have the bridge corruption free ? If so, get out of the political drama being played now.

  • Abdullah Ferdous
    Sunday, November 4, 2012 01:35 AM GMT+06:00 (171 weeks ago)

    What advice our PM gets from this adviser? Give sanity a chance! The whole world is watching.

  • Knowledgable
    Sunday, November 4, 2012 01:38 AM GMT+06:00 (171 weeks ago)

    Mashiur Rahman has become desperate to hang on to power. We are surprised that the PM is encouraging him to do so.

  • Tawfik Sattar
    Sunday, November 4, 2012 11:15 AM GMT+06:00 (171 weeks ago)

    This man will eventually spoil the prospect of getting much needed WB loan.

  • M H Uddin
    Sunday, November 4, 2012 04:05 AM GMT+06:00 (171 weeks ago)

    Some times I wonder how an educated man like this can behave this way with his country! I am optimistic and considering him as clean but why does he not leave for the greater interest of the country? Educated people like him should set an example from where others can learn patriotism.

  • N. Alamgir
    Sunday, November 4, 2012 05:46 AM GMT+06:00 (171 weeks ago)

    This is exasperating! What is the truth? Is this man so much so indispensable? We ask, what are his tangible contributions to the betterment of Bangladesh and its people?

  • Robin
    Sunday, November 4, 2012 05:46 AM GMT+06:00 (171 weeks ago)

    This irresponsible Bangladeshi has become a stain for the country.

  • Salam
    Sunday, November 4, 2012 06:13 AM GMT+06:00 (171 weeks ago)

    I think it became clear to corrupt politicians and officials that with this level of WB oversight, they will not have any scope of making any money out of this project. So, they lost interest in it and trying their best to obstruct it.

  • Truth Teller
    Sunday, November 4, 2012 06:52 AM GMT+06:00 (171 weeks ago)

    I am sad to say that the people of Bangladesh might say goodbye to the World Bank loan for the Padma bridge project. To some people, ego is bigger than the country!

  • mujibul alam khan
    Sunday, November 4, 2012 09:31 AM GMT+06:00 (171 weeks ago)

    Perhaps this is a message to the World Bank that the government does not depend solely on them.

  • Mahbubur Rahman
    Sunday, November 4, 2012 09:33 AM GMT+06:00 (171 weeks ago)

    Is he working on pay role basis? No work no pay.

  • habibur
    Sunday, November 4, 2012 12:06 PM GMT+06:00 (171 weeks ago)

    We do not want any drama; we want only Padma bridge with the help of world bank.

  • Anonymous
    Sunday, November 4, 2012 12:21 AM GMT+06:00 (171 weeks ago)

    Is Dr. Moshiur so indispensible?

    And if he has any ethics he must keep himself away and not jeopardise the issue. Being such a senior person he should take his own decision as per the merit it warrants. Now the whole world can learn some 'politics' from us, it seems!





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