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Friday, February 1, 2013
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Padma Bridge Graft Conspiracy

No financing until certain terms met

States WB president

Jim Yong Kim

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim has strongly said the lender would not finance the Padma bridge until certain conditions are met to heighten oversight in the project and Bangladesh gives an assurance that a complete and fair probe is under way.

"Until certain conditions are met to heighten oversight in the project and give assurance that a complete and fair criminal investigation is under way, we cannot consider financing the bridge," he said.

"I say this knowing how much this bridge means to the people and economy in the southwest of Bangladesh. It is a steel lifeline linking them to opportunity," said Kim in his speech on "Anti-corruption Efforts in a Global Environment: A Commitment to Act" at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington on Wednesday.

This is the first time the WB chief commented openly on Padma bridge corruption allegations since he took office in July last year.

The WB cancelled its $1.2 billion credit for the bridge project in June last year, saying it had proof of corruption conspiracy involving Bangladeshi officials, executives of a Canadian firm and individuals.

Though the Bank later revived the loan deal on some conditions, construction of the bridge, the country's largest infrastructure project, at an estimated cost of about $3 billion still remains uncertain.

Kim said the Bank needs to take risks for development results but it has to do that with eyes open and try to mitigate those risks as much as it can.

"However, sometimes things go wrong and then we need to stand firm."

"This is what happened in the case of the Padma bridge project where insufficient response by the authorities to the evidence of corruption at the time made us terminate a $1.2 billion credit in June last year."

Kim said he has no intention to pre-empt things, as legal and other processes have to run their course.

He said the funding will not be available for the bridge until the government meets the conditions.

The WB chief, however, said the Bank has remained engaged in Bangladesh with commitments of about $4.3 billion in over 30 projects.

"Our lack of tolerance for corruption does not mean that we ignore the larger development picture."

“Few issues are more important for development and shared growth than good governance."

He reiterated that combating corruption would be one of the Bank's top priorities during his tenure in order to establish good governance.

According to an estimate, $20 to $40 billion are stolen from developing countries each year through corruption, he said.

Kim said the Bank last week took stock of its investigations into misconduct in its projects. "This exercise revealed that we had closed 609 investigations and generated 250 debarments over the past four and a half years."

"I have asked the relevant units in the Bank to sift through this body of evidence, distill the lessons so that we can better modulate risk to ensure that those insights guide future business decisions."

He said the Bank's willingness to work in difficult situations and an appetite for measured risk should never be confused with a willingness to tolerate corruption in its projects and activities.

"Let me say it loud and clear: When corruption is discovered in our projects and activities, we have zero tolerance for it within the World Bank Group.

“We should learn from governments' enforcement and prevention measures -- Brazil has made some radical interventions to turn drug-infested favelas into safer neighbourhoods; in Italy the tax authorities are using an unorthodox approach called Redditometro to expose tax dodgers; in India the government is grappling with an anti-corruption bill.”

The WB chief said the bank needs to be focused more on solving real-world problems than the traditional “best practice” model of institutional development.

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Those of us who have some brains knew this was coming. And the ministers in the Awami League government did not see it coming. Guess, what do they do not have? Sheikh Hasina gave ultimatum to the World Bank like a fool; now she got the answer.

: Truth Teller

I support WB's Stance on this...Unless corruption issues are resolved, there will be no financing.

Take that Hasina...

: Ronny

Comments

  • Mahmud Hasan
    Friday, February 1, 2013 12:25 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    It is high time for Bangladesh to look for an alternative financial source, not spending anymore time on Word bank.

    Mahmud Hasan, Stockholm, Sweden

  • Vampire knight
    Friday, February 1, 2013 12:30 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    Things are very clear now. For some time our ministers will abuse, criticize the WB & Mr Kim at their highest voices. We are prepared to listen to that and what next? May be, find another deal to impose on the nation like that of quick rental, arms deal.

  • Syed Imtiaz Ali
    Friday, February 1, 2013 12:49 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    We all had known of the firmness of WB much earlier from the way proceedings took place. I think patience has been exercised. But we took it too lightly and being reluctant to fully comply had exposed us in more dubious, questionable light!

  • Robin
    Friday, February 1, 2013 12:52 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    Do you read the message Madam PM and Mr. FM Muhit?

  • Roni Rahman
    Friday, February 1, 2013 01:05 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    From the get go the WB had seriously emphasized the zero tolerence of corruption and in many subsequent correspondences and actions that stance has been obvious to even a novice bystander.

  • Shabbir A Bashar
    Friday, February 1, 2013 02:38 PM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    It is time for the over-talking failed generation of Bangladesh to kindly retire and leave the new generation in peace. Don't rob our future with your stubborn, foolish and corrupt ways. Please go away ... soon.

  • Well wisher
    Friday, February 1, 2013 01:34 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    Hasina and gang about to take the bet. Come on don't be arrogant and accept the crime. Bring Abul to trial.

  • suahmed
    Friday, February 1, 2013 01:36 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    The dream of a big leap towards development is going to be nipped in the bud. This quite unfortunate that AL Govt. with its hide and seek policy to save its ex cabinet member has failed to fulfill the conditions of holding a fair criminal investigation. But now it is clear from the statement of WB President that Bangladesh must yield to meet the conditions to get the loan.

  • Asad Zaman
    Friday, February 1, 2013 02:34 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    Five lessons to be learned from the backtracking of the WB: 1) The Giver is always higher, privileged and assertive than the receiver. 2) Giver can put conditions or demand particular ‘sacrifice’ or even determine the number of ‘sacrifices’ from the receiver. 3) And if a condition of offering of a certain ‘sacrifice’ is not met by the receiver, the giver may get furious and demonstrate its lack of tolerance and revoke the promised rewards (needed for the welfare and development of the people). 4) The receiver, on the other hand, must be meek, obedient and follower. The receiver must obey and follow what the giver says; it shall not question, argue or try to show or find the mistake of the giver, because the giver is always right and flawless. 5) The receiver must offer as many as sacrifice as the giver wants. Finally, as the receiver has questioned the aim and integrity of the giver and also failed to sacrifice a particular “holy-cow” demanded by the giver, the latter lost its tolerance and hence revoked its rewards. The receiver seems to be cool; it says “we will now start to reward ourselves”.

  • Elihan U.K.
    Friday, February 1, 2013 04:37 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    W.B. President delivered a clear message. We only hope our Govt will take notice ,pay heed and take his words seriously instead of making counter allegations and bringing more and more shame. They should know they can not fool the WB what they can easily do with their own administration.

  • Khondkar Abdus Saleque
    Friday, February 1, 2013 05:11 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    We find no justification in government not bringing all corruption suspects under judicial process. If found not guilty in free , fair and credible investigation Abuls names can be cleared but till these are done transparently WB can not go beyond it's procurement procedure. Bangladesh as member of WB is definitely aware of it. In present situation there is no way the mega project can proceed over near term without WB loan.

  • M. Ashraf
    Friday, February 1, 2013 05:25 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    We find no justification in government not bringing all corruption suspects under judicial process. If found not guilty in free, fair and credible investigation Abuls names can be cleared but till these are done transparently WB can not go beyond it's procurement procedure. Bangladesh as member of WB is definitely aware of it. In present situation there is no way the mega project can proceed over near term without WB loan.

  • himukala
    Friday, February 1, 2013 05:45 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    Mr Kim, if you are really serious then do the right thing first - ensure honesty from rich developed countries - that is a more fundamental ethical issue than expecting poor developing countries to be honest. Ensure that Lavalin and similar other top firms from rich developed countries do not try to bribe the Abuls from poor countries. Put your efforts to achieve this instead transferring the responsibility to poor developing countries. According to Trancperancy International, no country is corruption-free and so you need to set a realistic target to achieve your zero tolerance on corruption for poor developing countries and then suspend WB operation for that many years to save the money that is spent on WB salaries including yours.

  • neutral
    Friday, February 1, 2013 06:01 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    Sir, Bangladesh does not enjoy any more ambiguity in reading the Padma bridge story. People are being informed keeping some major issue unclear such as, when,sir, you say about 'until certain conditions' are met, what conditions we are talking about ? . Have you,sir heard the chairnman of the ACC who said few days dack that certain things be not made public ?

  • Dr. Iftikhar-ul-Awwal
    Friday, February 1, 2013 08:03 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    The World Bank President is compelled to take such a tough stand due to lingering stalemate in conducting a fair, transparent and full investigation by the ACC in the matter of corruption conspiracy.

  • Hasan
    Friday, February 1, 2013 08:34 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    Really AL is a big corrupted govt.

  • Md Shahjahan
    Friday, February 1, 2013 08:58 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    It is obvious that External body formed by WB and the lender didn't convince the activities did by ACC. So result zero.

  • Robin
    Friday, February 1, 2013 09:25 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    Good job, World Bank!Idiots need to learn lessons.

  • Asad Zaman
    Friday, February 1, 2013 09:45 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    The question here is: how much Jim Yong Kim knows about the inner complexity of the conspiracy of corruption in the Padma Project. Has he ever consulted the chair person of Bangladesh Anti-Corruption Commission, which has been investigating the corruption conspiracy case and has also taken drastic measure against some accused person? Does Mr. Kim know that (for a long time) the ACC was deprived of conducting a normal investigation in the Padma graft case because the WB failed to provide the ACC (or the government) with necessary information or documents (proof, evidence etc) regarding the conspiracy of corruption? Does Mr. Kim know that the WB started to accuse the BD officials nearly18 months ago, but provided the ACC with info and documents (that are necessary for investigation) just 2 and ½ months ago? That is, on November 13, 2012 the WB sent its third report to the ACC on corruption evidence, which helped the latter to work diligently and to file cases against a certain numbers of people. Is it not a waste of time from the WB’s side? As I understand, the ACC has done its job, and they will do more if they get new information, but they cannot hurt anyone without corroborative evidence. Finally, Mr. Kim must know also that the construction work of a (so-called) “clean bridge” and the rigorous investigation of the corruption-conspiracy case could continue side by side (as per the law) without such a long delay. And the vast majority of concerned people around the world would have liked that. It is a big failure for the global organization.

  • amin
    Friday, February 1, 2013 10:01 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    Thank you, Mr. President, for responding to the Bangladesh government officials unreasonable insistence for a decision by 31 January 2013.

  • Soma Din
    Friday, February 1, 2013 10:04 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    Right decision by WB. Awami Hasina government doesn't deserve this loans as they refused to indict their minister. This proves even big fishes in the government are involved in this corruption.

  • An Observer
    Friday, February 1, 2013 11:31 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    It is crystal clear that WB would not finance Padma Project, their conditions are endless, and it looks like that The World Bank is the most sacred organization in the world ever as emerged. Corruption conspiracy theory can not be the pretext of not financing Padma like Project, It is clear WB is pursuing some politics to influence our country's political environment. We the nation should now stand for our self determination, let the Padma Project self financing be the start of elimination of WB activities in Bangladesh, like Malaysia. We should do it now since the WB current position on corruption conspiracy theory not at all acceptable as suspects are on due process of the Law. Another thing is-what ever corruption allegation comes from WB that would be tried or investigated under our country's existing law and regulations. WB BANK never is satisfied, it will be time consuming if we delay to kick off Padma Project.

  • Ahmad Sharief
    Friday, February 1, 2013 11:32 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    The message of the World Bank chief is clear. Will our incumbents still say they made no mistakes?

  • SHAMSUL HUDA
    Friday, February 1, 2013 11:36 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    Govt should immediately indict both Abuls to ensure the much cheaper World Bank loan. We should not borrow high-interest loan from Malaysia, China and India.

  • niloufar sarker
    Friday, February 1, 2013 11:44 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    How about zero tolerance for corruption in the WB institution itself & for good measure practice some austerity for it's officials traveling first class & the best hotels while trying to alleviate poverty in the poor countries It is alleged that a WB official was castigated for traveling Business Class by his peers & was forced to resign for trying to enforce austerity.

  • Selma
    Friday, February 1, 2013 12:38 PM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    How about zero tolerance for corruption in the WB institution itself & for good measure practice some austerity for it's officials traveling first class & the best hotels while trying to alleviate poverty in the poor countries It is alleged that a WB official was castigated for traveling Business Class by his peers & was forced to resign for trying to enforce austerity.

  • raz
    Friday, February 1, 2013 12:51 PM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    Thanks for such bold steps against corrupt practice. The Govt. was cooking this project to make most money out of it. We wonder who is more important Abul or our national interest? Shame on the govt.

  • Rashid Ahmed
    Friday, February 1, 2013 03:17 PM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    Three questions to all: Why Sheikh Hasina is so protective to save persons involved in Padma bridge graft case even when the entire nation's prestige is at a stake? Who was bribed in Canada by the Canadian Company to win the contract? Why the former communication minister Mr.Abul had to be so tight lipped that he could not mention the name of person took the bribe in Canada?

  • rafiq
    Friday, February 1, 2013 03:22 PM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    This is AL common practice


 

 


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