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Tuesday, January 22, 2013
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Padma Graft Conspiracy

Lift ban on use of info

ACC writes to WB

The Anti-Corruption Commission has urged the World Bank to lift the embargo on the use of information the global lender had provided regarding the corruption conspiracy in Padma bridge project.

If it is done, the ACC would be able to implicate some influential figures in the graft conspiracy case, said a high official of the anti-corruption watchdog.

The WB had shared some information with the ACC about former communications minister Syed Abul Hossain and some public and private officials, who were allegedly involved in the conspiracy, on condition that none of the piece of information can be used in the court of law or even cited as reference.

Early this month, the WB external panel in a letter wanted to know how the ACC would move forward with the investigation and sought a written reply to their eight queries.

ACC Chairman Ghulam Rahman yesterday said, "I have signed the letter today [Monday] and it has already been sent to the World Bank's local office. We want to carry out a transparent, complete, fair, comprehensive and adequate probe into the allegation."

"For this we seek help from all….the World Bank," Rahman told reporters while leaving his Segunbagicha office in the capital yesterday evening.

On December 17, 2012, after a year-long probe into the graft allegation, the ACC sued seven people for conspiring to take bribes. It accused secretary of the Bridges Division Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, but left out Syed Abul Hossain in the case.

About the 4 percent PCC, a euphemism used by SNC-Lavalin man Ramesh Shah in his diary to indicate the amount of bribes to be paid to Abul Hossain, the ACC chairman said, "We are working on it and seeking help from them [the WB]."

Canadian firm SNC-Lavalin had been awarded the job of consultant for the Padma bridge construction, but that got halted over the WB allegation of corruption.

Asked if the anti-graft commission would share the outcome of the remand interrogation of Mosharraf Hossain as per a proposal by the WB panel, Rahman replied in the affirmative.

On June 29, 2012, the WB cancelled its $1.2 billion credit for the $2.9-billion bridge project. It revived the deal in September imposing some terms and condition.

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Why suddenly we are hearing the issue of embargo put up by the WB which is reportedly hindering formal prosecution of some public servants especially Abul Hossain. We hope that the WB is not opting for a camera trail of the case. We wonder how the Canadian trail court is handling the issue of embargo as reported by the ACC to defend their prosecution difficulty against the major accused alleged to be the mastermind in the corruption case which has no material evidence of taking any bribe. I have a strong feeling that the lender and the loan taker are playing irresponsible role to deal with a corruption case which needs material evidence to prove in the court of law. The embargo as reported is by itself an anti-trail condition as common sense dictates.

: fedup

I did not see any government more transparent than the present one since after the liberation, although it can not be denied that corruption is prevalent in Bangladesh, yet I fail to understand why the World Bank has taken anti-people and anti-development stance.

: R Z Raja





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