WB team will advise WB, co-financiers on ACC probe

WB external panel due on Dec 1

In this October 14 photo, the World Bank country director along with a three-member external panel of the global lender leaves the Anti-Corruption Commission office.

The external panel of internationally-recognised experts which is scheduled to come on December 1 will advise the global financer and co-financiers of Padma bridge project on the adequacy of the Anti-Corruption Commission’s investigation.

“The external panel of internationally-recognised experts will advise the World Bank and co-financiers on the adequacy of the government’s investigation,” said Ellen Goldstein, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh.

In anticipation of the panel’s second visit to Dhaka, the Padma bridge co-financiers gathered in Manila for preliminary discussions on revising project implementation arrangements, the press statement added.

Adequate progress in investigating corruption evidence is necessary to allow project implementation to move forward.

The panel will arrive on December 1 for its second visit to assess whether the ACC has made progress in launching an investigation into evidence of corruption in the Padma bridge project, said a press release of World Bank’s Dhaka office on Wednesday.

“The people of Bangladesh know that the Padma bridge will transform the economy of the southwest and reduce poverty more rapidly. They want to see the project implemented free of corruption that takes money out of the hands of the poor,” said Ellen Goldstein.

The original $1.2 billion World Bank credit for the bridge was cancelled on June 29 due to an insufficient response by Bangladeshi authorities to evidence of a conspiracy of corruption involving senior public officials.

The panel was formed after the government requested the WB to reconsider the financing of the Padma bridge.

The panel made its first visit to Bangladesh in October to acquaint itself with efforts to date by the ACC, as well as Bangladeshi law and legal processes on conducting investigations.

Following the panel’s first visit, the World Bank Integrity vice-presidency provided the ACC with additional information on November 13.

The panel discussed how it would work with the ACC, and encouraged the commission to progress from preliminary inquiry to a deeper investigation of corruption evidence.

The World Bank announced the appointment of the panel on October 5, 2012.

The three-member panel is chaired by Luis Moreno Ocampo, former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. The two other panel members are Timothy Tong, former commissioner of the Independent Commission Against Corruption, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, People’s Republic of China; and Richard Alderman, former director of Britain’s Serious Fraud Office.

Source: The Daily Star

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