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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Monday, December 10, 2012
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4pc was for Abul

Mentions Lavalin official's diary; ACC team files Padma graft conspiracy probe report; 7 officials accused, but Abul left out

An Anti-Corruption Commission enquiry team in its final report has recommended filing case against seven persons, excluding former minister Syed Abul Hossain, for corruption conspiracy in the Padma bridge project.

However, the report, submitted yesterday, says the ACC high-ups should decide on whether Abul Hossain would be sued.

The ACC bosses are split over implicating the ex-minister although the World Bank provided the anti-graft body with “evidence of corruption” against him.

Ramesh Shah, arrested official of Canadian firm SNC Lavalin, in his diary had mentioned Abul as the recipient of 4 percent out of 10pc bribe from the sum fixed for bridge supervision work, sources say.

The 10pc is equivalent to Tk 38 crore.

The seven include former Bridges Division secretary Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan and Lavalin officials Ramesh, Mohammad Ismail and Kevin Wales.

The rest are Kazi Mohammad Ferdous, ex-secretary of tender evaluation committee for the bridge construction; Executive Engineer of Roads and Highway Department Reaz Ahmed Zaber and Lavalin's local agent Mohammad Mostofa.

On Tuesday, the ACC team submitted its draft report where it had named Syed Abul Hossain, former state minister for foreign affairs Abul Hasan Chowdhury and businessman Nixon Chowdhury, brother of Ruling Awami League Whip Noor-E-Alam Chowdhury.

The trio were dropped in the final report because the team has no “hard evidence” against them, added the sources.

The World Bank's external panel, which visited the ACC for the second time from December 2 to 5, left Dhaka unhappy over the omission of Syed Abul Hossain's name as a top corruption suspect in the project.

Two high-ups and a legal adviser of the graft watchdog argued desperately with the WB's external panel about why the name of Abul Hossain would not be dropped, a competent ACC source said.

A high ACC official who opposed Abul Hossain's inclusion told The Daily Star that it was true Ramesh mentioned 4 percent against the ex-minister's name. But the Lavalin official did not put any date and this indicates the bribe was not given yet.

Ramesh might have decided to offer the bribe to Abul. But the ex-minister might not have been aware of it and in that sense the ACC cannot blame him, the official added.

"So far, we didn't find any proof in favour of the allegation against Abul Hossain."

But while Abul was the communications minister, the Bridges Division repeatedly dissolved the tender evaluation committee to favour Lavalin. In this regard, the ACC official noted that the investigators had not found any proof in Abul's role in dissolving or forming the committees.

Another official said the ACC needs not defend Abul so much. The ex- minister should be implicated as his name has surfaced. If he can prove his innocence, the court will acquit him.

Yesterday, the enquiry report was submitted to ACC Director General Khondakar Muhammad Aminur Rahman, who will now forward it to legal advisers.

Once the advisers send back the report along with their opinions, the DG will submit it to the chairman and two commissioners. It might take a day or two.

The ACC launched the enquiry in September last year after the WB raised corruption allegations in the project.

ACC sources say unless the anti-graft body files a First Information Report (FIR), it cannot launch a formal investigation as expected by the global lender.

The WB cancelled its $1.2 billion funding on June 29, saying it had proof of a "corruption conspiracy" involving Bangladeshi officials, executives of a Canadian firm and some individuals.

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

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The topic has been discussed thread bare, and does not deserve further treatment as a news header in a national daily like this. Yesterday's road blockades and vandalism got less prominence, and I do not know why. This is amusing.

: Reaz Hassan

To protect a patriot certified by another patriot or hold them accountable is the key question left for ACC now. The WB Padma bridge loan saga is a test case for them as well as for us where it is paramount that truth prevails and corruption defeated no matter who the accused are and how powerful they are.

: Jumana Sarwar


  • Angry Citizen
    Monday, December 10, 2012 12:38 AM GMT+06:00 (165 weeks ago)

    Syed Abul Hossain is not yet proven guilty. But because of him the entire project delayed for almost 3 months. Who is responsible for this?

  • Ferdous Ahmed
    Monday, December 10, 2012 01:13 AM GMT+06:00 (165 weeks ago)

    When the World Bank emphasises the clandestine linkage of Abul with the Padma bridge corruption scam, the ACC investigative team should not have excluded the name of ex-communications minister Syed Abul Hossain from the list of suspects in order for pleasing the sentiment of the government only. The unnecessary and exaggerated endeavours by the ACC investigative committee has, virtually, invited a big challenge for the current government to deal with in terms of bringing the WB back again in further negotiation table. Better comply with the request of WB and let the International Community see how tough the Government of Bangladesh can behave in case of any irregularities and corruptions thrusting a greater importance on national interest than that of the petty politics. In fact, the national interest is advisably much more important than any individual interest of party compatriots.

  • Barkat
    Monday, December 10, 2012 02:13 AM GMT+06:00 (165 weeks ago)

    Everyone knows beyond any doubt that the minister was involved in corruption and equally know that the PM is there to protect such ministers. Nothing will happen to the minister or any regret or shame on part of PM. It is the people of Bangladesh who have been suffering for long time will suffer more due to the delay in Padma bridge project. After all Abul is a patriot and PM will do everything to save him. If the highest office of the country is there to protect one individual no one can do anything. But every thing has an end. The PM will not always be in power and the patriot will not remain always a patriot.

  • Roni Rahman
    Monday, December 10, 2012 02:48 AM GMT+06:00 (165 weeks ago)

    The more the govt tries to protect the obvious corrupt ministers, the more it looks ridiculous and out of touch with people. In the age of multiple media outlets, people cannot be fooled with 'see no evil, hear no evil' mantra.

  • Salam
    Monday, December 10, 2012 04:49 AM GMT+06:00 (165 weeks ago)

    From PM to FM to Mashiur said the loan was cancelled by WB because of Prof Yunus's conspiracy. Yet, ACC's report does not even mention his name and as such, they really do need to investigate the whole thing again and this time should stay focused on Prof Yunus.

  • raz
    Monday, December 10, 2012 04:50 AM GMT+06:00 (165 weeks ago)

    Why not fire all these pro corruption committee, appoint people from independent body to investigate this case. It is joke if Abul is acquitted, what good he has done for the country rather be brought the shame for the country. Our PM is waiting to say, yes, it is another BNP-Jamaat conspiracy?

  • Syed Ahmed
    Monday, December 10, 2012 06:15 AM GMT+06:00 (165 weeks ago)

    How much was for Abul's other colleague?

  • Shabbir A Bashar
    Monday, December 10, 2012 06:26 AM GMT+06:00 (165 weeks ago)

    The WB should stand by its demand to sue Abul. The ACC- as most other Bangladesh Government agencies - simply do not have the guts to call a spade a spade. Mostly, they are nothing but slaves.

  • Truth Teller
    Monday, December 10, 2012 06:32 AM GMT+06:00 (165 weeks ago)

    The trio was dropped in the final report because they are politically connected. There cannot be any ambiguity about that. This proves that ACC cannot work independently without interference from the government. ACC accuses seven small players but leaves the gang leaders out because they are politically connect to Awami League. I think Bangladeshi people can now forget about getting funding for the Padma bridge from the World Bank.

  • Harun Rashid
    Monday, December 10, 2012 06:58 AM GMT+06:00 (165 weeks ago)

    Why ex-communications minister Syed Abul Hossain is excluded of this graft conspiracy case which actually bares the Padma bridge project in a dilemma? He was the chief of the ministry logically he can not be stay out side of the process and ACC can not give him certificate for innocent instead ACC should file case against him first and court will examine and give their verdict against him and other ? Looks like ACC is giving proxy only for the government since PM already gave certificate to ex minister as a patriotic leader of our country!

  • Ali
    Monday, December 10, 2012 07:03 AM GMT+06:00 (165 weeks ago)

    Truth must be revealed, as we have always talked loudly about law and that no one is above it. For once let us try not to deceive our nation. At the end of the day everyone is accountable. Even the man on the street has a question: Why is Abul do dear to some?

  • N. Alamgir
    Monday, December 10, 2012 07:31 AM GMT+06:00 (165 weeks ago)

    How much more evidence does the ACC need to file case against the so-called patriotic innocent Ex-Communication Minister? Why is this dilly-dallying? Why is the ACC still trying to fool the people when the cat is out of the bag? Whose interests is it serving by letting the prime accused off the hook?

  • rch
    Monday, December 10, 2012 07:41 AM GMT+06:00 (165 weeks ago)

    Now US, Canada, UK governments must investigate all BD politicians family members living there under their respective Foreign Corrupt Business Act. Time is now.

  • asad bulbu
    Monday, December 10, 2012 08:44 AM GMT+06:00 (165 weeks ago)

    Please! Do not write about Padma. After reading newspapers everyday we receive hammer blow on our distorted hope. Rather you can write family story of our politicians, bearcats for their publicity not for defame.

  • motahar hossain
    Monday, December 10, 2012 09:25 AM GMT+06:00 (165 weeks ago)

    Despite ACC has failed to allege Abul in their final report, but it does not require much attention from commoners' part as he is the prime factor for refusal to fund for Padma bridge from World Bank side.

  • mshafiqula
    Monday, December 10, 2012 10:10 AM GMT+06:00 (165 weeks ago)

    'Abul, a true patriot indeed!'

  • mshafiqula
    Monday, December 10, 2012 10:14 AM GMT+06:00 (165 weeks ago)

    A good story with desired treatment.

  • I.Hassan
    Monday, December 10, 2012 10:17 AM GMT+06:00 (165 weeks ago)

    The only reason ACC is not touching former minister Syed Abul Hossain is because that will open up the giant tinderbox and engulfs many big fishes of Awami League. That may or may not open up PM's role behind the scene for election expenses that she is so worried about.

  • himukala
    Monday, December 10, 2012 10:32 AM GMT+06:00 (165 weeks ago)

    WB will not provide the loan - these are all delaying tactics. WB itself is not a clean organisation - just search through Google. Some corruptions are always accepted in poor developing countries to bring official efficiency in a project and outcome benefits always outweigh the corruption loss. Evidences so far produced are still very weak and can be easily created by bribing. One day truth may come out that WB has hatched this conspiracy by bribing Canadian Lavalin and Bangladeshi private and Govt officials to punish government for mishandling Grameen Bank. WB will ensure that PM can not use Padma bridge to win the next election. Look at the timings of all these dramas.

  • nazrul
    Monday, December 10, 2012 10:42 AM GMT+06:00 (165 weeks ago)

    On the one hand you save the nation on the other hand you save a culprit, now it is up to the CEO of the county to decide of which hand you belongs.

  • Jesmin Islam
    Monday, December 10, 2012 11:10 AM GMT+06:00 (165 weeks ago)

    We are missing an important point. If it was only the matter of Abul Hossain then it would have resolved much earlier. But Abul's implication will ultimately expose PM and her family. This is the reason Abul is so precious and needs to be protected at any cost! History will judge this episode one day and I can predict that like the Railway gate and Hall-mark scandals, the involvement of very senior people of this AL regime will soon be exposed to the people of Bangladesh.

  • Asad Zaman
    Monday, December 10, 2012 11:14 AM GMT+06:00 (165 weeks ago)

    The investigation by ACC has come to a decisive point. Thanks to the external panel for creating such new energy that broke the obduracy of the World Bank to provide the ACC with all the necessary material. As a result, the ACC has managed to produce the current valuable report. Now everyone's’ focus of attention must include the following questions: What crime Abul Hossain has committed. 2) Who initiated the corruption conspiracy? 3) And the main factor(s) underling this long delay or waste of time in starting the wok of the bridge.

  • S. M. Imranul Islam Rajon
    Monday, December 10, 2012 12:13 PM GMT+06:00 (165 weeks ago)

    What is Abul's power source? A lot of complain against him but nobody even any law or court can not any step on him. It is not a fair decision. We are totally upset.

  • nazmul
    Monday, December 10, 2012 12:47 PM GMT+06:00 (165 weeks ago)

    As a nation we are very unfortunate. How corruption is patronised under the shelter of the government with the disguise actor like ACC.

  • Anonymous
    Monday, December 10, 2012 12:14 AM GMT+06:00 (165 weeks ago)

    Tk 15.2 crore is a lot of money receiving without giving out any labour. Just a signature and that's all. Is there some other link beyond Abul Hossain for which this dilly dally or hide and seek?

  • Populist
    Monday, December 10, 2012 12:52 AM GMT+06:00 (165 weeks ago)

    I don't understand why PM is saving Abul Hossian?





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