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Tuesday, December 4, 2012
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Padma Bridge Graft

Abuls claim innocence

WB team meets ACC officials over probe report today

Former communications minister Syed Abul Hossain yesterday said he had no complicity even if corruption allegations in the Padma bridge project were true.

Emerging from the Anti-Corruption Commission's interrogation room, he claimed nobody in the world can prove his involvement in corruption.

Also, former state minister for foreign affairs, Abul Hasan Chowdhury, denied his involvement in the alleged graft in the project.

The two were talking to reporters separately at the commission's Segunbagicha office after being interrogated by a team of the anti-graft body yesterday.

With Abul Hossain and Abul Hasan, the ACC completes quizzing for the ongoing enquiry into alleged conspiracy to influence the selection of a consultant for the Padma bridge construction.

The four-member ACC team, which launched its enquiry in September last year, will submit its report to the commission today.

And, over the report, the commission will hold a meeting with the World Bank external panel this afternoon.

The global lender's team, now in Dhaka for the second time to assess the progress in the enquiry, held talks with the ACC on Sunday. It is scheduled to visit the ACC around 3:00pm today, said an official source.

The Bank had cancelled its $1.2 billion credit for the $2.9 billion project on June 29, saying it had credible evidence of a corruption conspiracy involving Bangladeshi officials, executives of a Canadian firm and some private individuals.

The global lender appointed the external team following its September 21 announcement to revive the loan deal.

The panel, chaired by Luis Moreno Ocampo, former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, made its first visit to Dhaka in October.

Its two other members are Timothy Tong, former commissioner of the Independent Commission against Corruption of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and Richard Alderman, former director of Britain's Serious Fraud Office.

The ACC sources say they have information that some quarters influenced the process of selecting Canadian consultant firm SNC Lavalin for a $50 million job in the Padma project.

Two SNC Lavalin officials are already facing trial in a Canadian court on charges of bribing Bangladeshi public officials to get the job.

While leaving the ACC compound yesterday, Syed Abul Hossain asked his men to distribute some paper that he claimed was supplementary statement he submitted to ACC yesterday.

The statement read former state minister Abul Hasan Chowdhury along with officials of SNC Lavalin met him twice before selecting the firm.

They requested him to properly evaluate the Canadian company's documents, he claimed.

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We do not want any drama.we want only Padma bridge.

: habibur rahman

Every accused expresses his innocence. It is the task of the prosecution to arrive at the truth. The World Bank is trying to help the one eyed ACC but finding it difficult to convince and see reason. We the people, on the other hand, are the sacrificial lamb.

: Reaz Hassan

Comments

  • Robin
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012 12:51 AM GMT+06:00 (72 weeks ago)

    If ACC is scared of their jobs, then continue your songs and dances and do not have the Padma bridge. If you are all honest Bangladeshis, then put all these scrums behind bars.

  • Pipu Fishue
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012 01:23 AM GMT+06:00 (72 weeks ago)

    We must understand that he was declared as a patriot by PM herself; he has to be innocent, of course!

  • barkat
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012 01:56 AM GMT+06:00 (72 weeks ago)

    There is no single incident in Bangladesh history where a minister or PM have taken responsibility for their mistake or accepted their guilt. Abul is also from the same group of people and so are tainted minister Suranjith Sen and others. And to those comments that innocent until proven guilt, will they say the same for those who are accused for so called war crimes.

  • rch
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012 02:04 AM GMT+06:00 (72 weeks ago)

    Abul is a self certified innocent and honest individual. ACC had that seal of approval too but now changing the seal --but our perception index is still the same regarding him based on his prior dealings and then Padma bridge. After all he is a proven minister who got fired twice for shady deals of patriotism.

  • deep purple blue
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012 02:04 AM GMT+06:00 (72 weeks ago)

    Questioning like grooms will not reveal anything. Leave it to the WB legal team and they will find out the truth.

  • Roni Rahman
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012 02:04 AM GMT+06:00 (72 weeks ago)

    Does it mean that the govt is letting Abul off the hook? Does the govt think that if it can just let the lower officials (non-minister level) be caught, WB/people will stop clamouring for high ups to be punished?

  • Manzoor Ashraf
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012 02:25 AM GMT+06:00 (72 weeks ago)

    Abul is innocent, Suranjit is innocent and everybody who is an Awami Leaguer is also innocent. Only BNP, Jamaat and those who speak against Awami League's wrong doings are guilty.

  • Translucent
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012 02:35 AM GMT+06:00 (72 weeks ago)

    There is no fire without smoke!

  • Misbah Uddin Sumon
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012 03:06 AM GMT+06:00 (72 weeks ago)

    We believe in work not in quarrel! To establish Padma bridge critically consult with World Bank for our needs not for other's benefits.

  • Dr. Nazmul Haq
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012 03:36 AM GMT+06:00 (72 weeks ago)

    There is no problem if one declares himself to be innocent in corruption allegation. It is more so in Bangladesh where corrupt people has not served time in jail whether the civilian or military bureaucrats, engineers, doctors, lawyers, politicians of businessmen. Few of the above class were convicted in the lower court but absolved of their criminal activities in the higher courts mostly on technical grounds.

  • Concerned Expat
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012 07:28 AM GMT+06:00 (72 weeks ago)

    I do not want to judge Abul, may be he is guilty or may be not. I think one should think a bit harder on one issue is that what if he is telling the truth that he did not take any bribe or commission under the table? Does WB have any substantive proof with actual bank transaction that can be verified, and vetted? We have seen nothing but everyday, we hear that Abul is corrupt or that the Finance Advisor is corrupt. May be everyone is corrupt, but before we gleefully hang them, we should do utmost to ensure that we actually got the right person rather than the wrong one. I sense something fundamentally sinister in trying to get this Padma issue on the surface for too long. The WB should have disbursed the money long time ago and could have instituted many control centres for actual construction and various accounting procedures for any payment. In other words, the bridge construction should not have been stopped because of possible corruption.

  • Mohammad Nurul Hoque
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012 09:35 AM GMT+06:00 (72 weeks ago)

    Abul and innocence! Interesting.

  • Asad Zaman
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012 09:55 AM GMT+06:00 (72 weeks ago)

    Democracy, accountability, freedom of speech, and freedom of press everything is working accordingly. And in the current situation, every person under investigation has the right to defend himself/herself. So Abul Hossain and Hasan have also the rights. Let them defend themselves, and they are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty by the court.

  • sujon
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012 03:56 PM GMT+06:00 (72 weeks ago)

    If Abul is innocent then Tareq and Koko too.

  • Truth Teller
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012 12:03 AM GMT+06:00 (72 weeks ago)

    May be Abul should be recommended for sainthood to the Pope.

  • niloufar sarker
    Tuesday, December 4, 2012 12:23 AM GMT+06:00 (72 weeks ago)

    We bangladeshis are extremely judgemental & we try suspects in kangaroo court according to our political affiliation.What is wrong in the former communication minister claiming innocence? A suspect is presumed innocent until proven innocent in the court of law.There is an investigation going on by ACC under the supervision of an august panel from WB.Character assasination is also a heinous crime & we should refrain from vitrolic comments.Let him cast the first stone who has never committed a sin ,


 

 


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