WB supervisors, ACC get along

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rupashibangla Desk :
The Anti-Corruption Commission and World Bank panel on Sunday discussed how they could work together to assess the investigation into alleged corruption in the Padma bridge project, the Bank’s Country Director for Bangladesh said.
“They discussed the issue so that the panel can provide advice and also assess the characteristics of the investigation,” she said after the initial meeting of over two hours.
The three-member panel led by former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Luis Moreno Ocampo arrived in Dhaka at 2:00am. The two other panel members are Timothy Tong, former Commissioner of the Independent Commission against Corruption in Hong Kong, and the former director of the UK Serious Fraud Office, Richard Alderman.
The external panel came to Dhaka with the purpose of assessing the fullness and fairness of the investigation, Goldstein said. “”We had a productive initial meeting with Ant- Corruption Commission and they have shown us their full cooperation,” she added.
The World Bank team met ACC Chairman Ghulam Hossain and other members of investigation team.
Officials said the team will meet Finance Minister AMA Muhith if he returns to Bangladesh from Tokyo within Oct 16, the date of its departure.The fate of the $2.9 billion project now depends on the panel’s findings, as the report will decide whether the largest financier in the project will return with its $1.2 billion promised fund.
The World Bank on June 29 had cancelled its pledged fund, claiming to have found ‘credible evidence’ of high-level corruption by government officials, SNC-Lavalin executives and private individuals for the project. But the government refuted the allegations.
Amid the government’s persuasion, the Bank announced revival of the agreement on Sep 20 but said the final decision would be taken based on its enquiry supervision panel’s report.
The Bank’s graft probe panel is assigned to supervise the anti-graft watchdog’s current investigation into the corruption allegations from outside as per the condition set by the bank.
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim on Saturday expressed his hopes that the lender’s review panel will ensure transparent investigation into the alleged corruption in the project.
Bangladesh had signed a loan agreement with Washington-based lender, Asian Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank and Japan International Cooperation Agency last year to construct the six-kilometre long bridge, biggest ever infrastructure project in Bangladesh. After the World Bank decided to cancel funding for the project, former Communication Minister Syed Abul Hossain resigned and the Bridges Division Secretary Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan was sent on leave, as part of an understanding with the global lending agency. Besides these moves, the government also agreed to allow the ACC to supervise the investigation into the alleged corruption later.
uplod 14 oct, Newsroom

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