Padma probe report in December: ACC

Dhaka, Nov 19 (—Anti-Corruption Commission hopes to get the findings of investigations into allegations of corruption in the Padma bridge project by next month, its Chairman said on Monday.

“Our investigation has made significant progress. The ACC investigation team will submit their report in the first week of December,” Ghulam Rahman told reporters at the ACC headquarters in the capital’s Segunbagicha.

Asked about the investigation’s overall progress, the ACC chief said, “We were in the dark, but now we have seen the light.”

One of the World Bank teams is keeping an eye on the ACC investigation on the much-hyped Padma bridge project. Disbursement of the global lender’s pledged $1.2 billion credit on the $2.9 billion project hinges on the probe report of the anti-graft watchdog.

The Washington-based global lender had cancelled its pledged credit to Bangladesh on June 29 raising graft allegations in the country’s biggest infrastructural project. But the bank announced its conditional return to the project on Sept 20 after efforts by Bangladesh government.

On Oct 1, the World Bank said that it would send two teams to Dhaka as per their condition. The first team came to Dhaka in mid-October on a three-day visit to supervise the ACC probe and assess the government’s measures to investigate ‘corruption’ in the project.

A few days after the first panel left, the World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh, Ellen Goldstein, on Oct 21 had said the second team might come to Dhaka in early November.

ACC had formed a four-strong probe team, led by Deputy Director Abdullah Al Jahid, after the global agency raised graft allegations. The other team members are – Deputy Directors Mir Zainul Abedin Shibli, Golam Shahriar Chowdhury and Mirza Zahidul Islam.

The graft allegations first came into light as the World Bank suspended its fund in September last year after Canadian police initiated investigations into allegations of corruption against Canadian engineering giant SNC Lavalin Group, which was chosen as the project supervision firm.

Later, the ACC also tried to contact the Canadian government to go to Canada for further enquiry into the alleged corruption in the project.

Rahman on Monday said, “We are yet to receive any response from the Canadian government. We are communicating with them unofficially. We hope to get an answer about the Mutual Legal Assistant Request (MLAR) very soon.”

Source: BdNews24


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