7 sued over Padma bridge graft, Abuls dropped

The Anti-Corruption Commission on Monday filed a case against seven people excluding the names of former communications minister Syed Abul Hossain and state minister for foreign affairs Abul Hasan Chowdhury for their alleged roles in graft conspiracy in Padma bridge project.

Former secretary of the Bridges Division Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan and three officials of Canadian consultancy firm SNC Lavalin — Ramesh, Mohammad Ismail and Kevin Walid– were made accused in the case which was filed with Banani Police Station.

Two SNC Lavalin officials are already facing trial in a Canadian court on charges of bribing Bangladeshi public officials to get the $50 million consultancy job in the bridge project.

The ACC took the step acting on its enquiry which the anti-graft body carried from September last year after the WB raised corruption allegations in the project.

The enquiry team had interrogated more than 30 people, including Abul Hossain and Prime Minister’s Economic Affairs Adviser Mashiur Rahman, in connection with the corruption allegations in the $2.9 billion project.

A three-member WB panel headed by Luis Moreno Ocampo, former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, earlier visited Dhaka in two phases in October and early December in connection with the graft allegation.

The two other panel 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 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.

Source: The Daily Star

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