ACC seizes files in Padma probe

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on Wednesday raided Setu Bhaban and seized some documents in its investigation into the alleged conspiracy to exchange bribes in the Padma bridge project.
The investigative team of the national antigraft agency seized the documents almost a month after it sued seven persons on charges of the conspiracy for appointing a Canadian company, SNC Lavalin, as the consultant for the country’s largest-ever infrastructure development project.

ACC Chairman Ghulam Rahman told bdnews24.com: “Document-based evidence is essential to prove corruption in the Padma bridge project. To do this, there’s no alternative to confiscating documents.”

ACC Public Relations Officer Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya said the investigation panel of the ACC led by its Deputy Directors Abdullah Al Jahid, Mir Mohammad Zainul Abedin Shibli, Golam Shahriar Chowdhury and Mirza Zahidul Alam raided Setu Bhaban at Mohakhali around 3pm and seized relevant documents.

A member of the investigation panel, seeking anonymity, said that the seized documents include the log book for visitors from 2010 to 2012, desktop computers and CDs.

The ACC on Dec 17 filed a case against seven people excluding former Communications Minister Syed Abul Hossain and former State Minister for Foreign Affairs Abul Hasan Chowdhury for their alleged roles in the graft conspiracy. Former Secretary to the Bridges Division Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan was made the main accused in the case.

The following day, it formed a five-strong committee to investigate the seven graft suspects. ACC Director Moniruzzaman was made the Coordinator of the panel which was initially given 45 days to submit its findings.

The World Bank cancelled its $1.2 billion funding on June 29 last year, saying it had proof of a “corruption conspiracy” involving Bangladeshi officials, executives of the Canadian firm and some individuals. The Washington-based global lender on Sep 21 decided to revive the loan after the Bangladesh government agreed to its terms and conditions.

But the World Bank’s funding in the project mostly depends on the investigation of the ACC.

The ACC has already sent the case details to the World Bank.

The World Bank’s Dhaka office has said that the final decision will be taken after the External Panel of anti-corruption experts formed by the global development partner completes reviewing the case details.

Source: Bdnews24

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