World Bank yanks funds for Bangladesh bridge over corruption

World Bank yanks funds for Bangladesh bridge over corruption

 Stabroek staff –  June 30, 2012

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – The World Bank yesterday canceled a US$1.2 billion credit for a Bangladesh bridge project with immediate effect, saying it had “credible evidence” of a high-level corruption conspiracy among Bangladeshi government officials.

“In light of the inadequate response by the government of Bangladesh, the World Bank has decided to cancel its $1.2 billion … credit in support of the Padma multipurpose bridge project, effective immediately,” the World Bank said in a statement.

The Washington-based development institution said it had provided evidence of  from two investigations into the Padma bridge project to Bangladesh’s prime minister and other senior government officials in an effort to press for action.    

The 4-mile (6-km) bridge is meant to link the country’s underdeveloped south with the capital Dhaka and the main port of Chittagong.
The bank’s decision to withdraw from the project follows an “unsatisfactory” response from the government in dealing with the corruption allegations. The bank said it had sent a high-level team to Dhaka to fully explain its position and get a government response.

“The World Bank cannot, should not, and will not turn a blind eye to evidence of corruption,” the bank said. “We have both an ethical obligation and a fiduciary responsibility to our shareholders and (International Development Association) donor countries.” Earlier this week, two former executives from Canadian engineering company SNC-Lavalin Group Inc, which bid to supervise the contractor on the project, appeared in a Toronto court on Monday accused of bribing officials in Bangladesh.

The executives Ramesh Shah and Mohammad Ismail were arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in February following a 2011 raid on SNC-Lavalin offices. SNC-Lavalin is one of the world’s largest engineering companies.

Canadian authorities launched an investigation last year into alleged corruption in the bridge bidding process after the World Bank brought the issue to their attention.

There was no immediate response from Bangladesh’s government on the World Bank’s decision.

Article printed from Stabroek News:

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  • Cyril Balkaran  On 07/05/2012 at 3:52 am

    Bangladesh is a poor country that exists on Jute as a major export item. The birth of Bangladesh in 1671 was as a result of Sheik Mujubur Rahaman’s great political struggle against the prime Minister Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto. Both lost their lives, the army of Bhutto’s spies invaded Dhaka and murdered the Awami League Leader the Sheik, while Bhuto was hanged in Pakistan by the military opponent general Zhia. Today the current leaders have forgotten the price that Shiek Mujibur Rahaman and others paid for the freedom of East Pakistan from
    the West. The Political hoodlums in Dhaka are a merciless bunch of corrupted individuals who do not care about improving the lot of the poor. The ideals is great and that is to make funding available for the bridge to connect South Bangladesh with the Capital city. What a lost opportunity as the World Bank and the IMF have studied the Forensic Reports of the Engineering Firms and those of the Auditors of the Country’s Finance Authorities. Politicians are a bunch of Corrupt idiots who should put in jail once convicted by a court of Law!
    Now that the aid is stopped and other investigations are pending , it will take some time for this decision by the world bank to be reversed!

  • Cyril Balkaran  On 07/05/2012 at 4:07 am

    The birth of Bangladesh was in the year 1971 and not 1671 as i earlier said. This was formerly East Pakistan and its first Prime Minister was the leader of the Awami League who challenged the Bhutto for the political power after the Awami League won the general elections of 1970. The seat of Government was in the West Pakistan. Sheik Mujubur Rahaman became the first PM of this newly created state in Asia, A bloody war ensued between the forces of the Mukti Bahini or the liberators of the East and Bhutto’s army of the West Pakistan. A refugee problem was created due to the internal war and people fled into neighbouring India. India maintained its border security and was eventually accused of training and arming the Freedom fighters of the Shiek Rahaman. Today it is a great shame on the history of this country for politicians to be accused of corruptions in the management of the bridge funding, from the World Bank and the IMF. No one truly cares of the economic development of this poor state. The corrupt ones should be hanged to death.

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