Ex-Bridges Div Secy gets bail

A Dhaka court on Tuesday granted bail to former Secretary of the Bridges Division Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan and Superintendent Engineer (River Control) of the Bangladesh Bridge Authority Kazi Mohammad Ferdous in the Padma bridge graft case.

They got the bail five days after the government sent a letter to the World Bank withdrawing its request for financing the bridge project.

Senior Special Judge Mohammad Zohurul Haque passed the order after conducting hearing on the petitions of the two accused seeking bail against the rejection order of the lower court, defence counsel Advocate Ehsanul Haque Samaji told bdnews24.com.

On Dec 26, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) had arrested the two key accused in the corruption conspiracy case in the proposed Padma project.

On Dec 17, the national anti-graft agency had filed the case with the Banani Police Station against seven people, including Mosharraf in connection with the alleged conspiracy to exchange bribe in appointing the Canadian company SNC-Lavalin as the consultant for the Padma bridge project.

The case was lodged under the Section 161 of Penal Code, Section 5 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1947 and Section 120 (B) of the Penal Code.

Mosharraf was made an officer on special duty (OSD) on Dec 18.

The other five accused are Reaz Ahmed Zaber, Executive Engineer of Roads and Highways Department; Mohammad Mostofa, Deputy Managing Director of Engineering and Planning Consultant and a local agent of Canadian firm SNC Lavalin; and officials of the firm Mohammad Ismail, Ramesh Shah and Kevin Wales.

According to the case statement, all the accused were involved in the corruption conspiracy to help Canadian consultancy firm SNC Lavalin get work in the proposed Padma bridge project and thus serve their personal interests.

The World Bank cancelled its $1.2 billion funding for the project 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 global lender had on Sept 21 decided to revive the loan after the Bangladesh government agreed to the World Bank’s terms and conditions.

But on Feb 1, the government withdrew its request to the global lender seeking its financing for the country’s largest-ever infrastructure project.bdnews24.com

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