Response to WB Padma report: Muhith blames ACC for ‘delay’

Finance Minister AMA Muhith has blamed the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) for the delay in the response to the World Bank’s report on the Padma bridge project saying he did not get the requisite documents from watchdog in time.He, however, said the answer to the report made by the panel formed to look into the alleged graft in the country’s biggest infrastructure project would be given within this week.
”I had asked the ACC to give me the necessary documents but it is delaying to do so. I hope to get those on Tuesday,” he told reporters at the Secretariat on Monday.
The World Bank had inked a $1.2 billion deal for the $2.91 billion Padma bridge but cancelled it after allegations of a bribery plot surfaced.
A three-strong World Bank external panel, led by Luis Gabriel Moreno-Ocampo, visited Dhaka twice last year to check on leads and gather evidence.
The panel sat twice with Anti-Corruption Commission officials last December.
Six months into those meetings, the report was handed over to the Finance Minister by the lender’s Bangladesh Representative Johannes Zutt on June 11.
The minister on that day had said the global lender will get the reply on Monday.
Earlier, in January, following persisting differences, the government decided to go ahead with the project without the Washington-based global lender.
A case, filed by the ACC in connection with the controversy, is currently being investigated. It accused seven people, including former Bridges Division Secretary Mohammad Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan.
But, former Communications Minister Syed Abul Hossain and former Foreign State Minister Abul Hassan Chowdhury, beleieved to be suspects, were left out.
A daily ran a report recently quoting Finance Minister Muhith as saying that the report recommended taking actions against Abul Hossain.
After the impasse with the World Bank, the government announced it would build a bridge across the Padma river with its own funds, for which the Finance Minister has allotted Tk 68.52 billion in his budget for 2013-14 fiscal year
Communications Minister Obaidul Quader has already said tenders for construction of the 6.15-kilometre long rail-road bridge would be floated in the last week of this month.(Source:

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