12:00 AM, December 04, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 04, 2012

Padma Bridge Graft

Abuls claim innocence

WB team meets ACC officials over probe report today

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Staff Correspondent

Former communications minister Syed Abul Hossain yesterday said he had no complicity even if corruption allegations in the Padma bridge project were true.
Emerging from the Anti-Corruption Commission's interrogation room, he claimed nobody in the world can prove his involvement in corruption.
Also, former state minister for foreign affairs, Abul Hasan Chowdhury, denied his involvement in the alleged graft in the project.
The two were talking to reporters separately at the commission's Segunbagicha office after being interrogated by a team of the anti-graft body yesterday.
With Abul Hossain and Abul Hasan, the ACC completes quizzing for the ongoing enquiry into alleged conspiracy to influence the selection of a consultant for the Padma bridge construction.
The four-member ACC team, which launched its enquiry in September last year, will submit its report to the commission today.
And, over the report, the commission will hold a meeting with the World Bank external panel this afternoon.
The global lender's team, now in Dhaka for the second time to assess the progress in the enquiry, held talks with the ACC on Sunday. It is scheduled to visit the ACC around 3:00pm today, said an official source.
The Bank had cancelled its $1.2 billion credit for the $2.9 billion project on June 29, saying it had credible evidence of a corruption conspiracy involving Bangladeshi officials, executives of a Canadian firm and some private individuals.
The global lender appointed the external team following its September 21 announcement to revive the loan deal.
The panel, chaired by Luis Moreno Ocampo, former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, made its first visit to Dhaka in October.
Its two other members are Timothy Tong, former commissioner of the Independent Commission against Corruption of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and Richard Alderman, former director of Britain's Serious Fraud Office.
The ACC sources say they have information that some quarters influenced the process of selecting Canadian consultant firm SNC Lavalin for a $50 million job in the Padma project.
Two SNC Lavalin officials are already facing trial in a Canadian court on charges of bribing Bangladeshi public officials to get the job.
While leaving the ACC compound yesterday, Syed Abul Hossain asked his men to distribute some paper that he claimed was supplementary statement he submitted to ACC yesterday.
The statement read former state minister Abul Hasan Chowdhury along with officials of SNC Lavalin met him twice before selecting the firm.
They requested him to properly evaluate the Canadian company's documents, he claimed.

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