12:00 AM, December 07, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 07, 2012

Padma Graft

ACC report next week

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Staff Correspondent

The enquiry team of the Anti-Corruption Commission will submit its report on the corruption allegations in the Padma bridge project next week after re-examining all documents, including those the World Bank had given the commission recently.
ACC Chairman Ghulam Rahman yesterday said the ACC will reinvestigate all corruption allegations in the project. “The enquiry team may submit its report to the commission next week," he said.
The enquiry team was supposed to submit its report to the commission during the WB external panel's stay in Dhaka between December 1 and 5. But the commission failed to finalise the report, as its meetings with the WB panel ended inconclusively.
The WB panel left Dhaka on Wednesday night seemingly unhappy over the omission of ex-minister Syed Abul Hossain as a top corruption suspect in the project.
Preferring anonymity, an ACC high official said the panel gave the ACC more information on the alleged corruption conspiracy involving several persons, including ex-communications minister Syed Abul Hossain.
"The enquiry team has already started re-investigating the allegations against Abul Hossain," said the official.
Sources in the ACC said the draft report that the enquiry team submitted to the ACC contained the name of the former communications minister but the commission later dropped his name.
The WB on November 13 sent the ACC a third report containing detailed evidence of corruption against public officials concerned as well as others.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister AMA Muhith told reporters in his secretariat office, "They [the WB panel] came and observed everything, but the decision will finally be taken by us."
The ACC launched the enquiry in September last year after the WB raised corruption allegations in the project.
The WB panel headed by Luis Moreno Ocampo, former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, earlier visited Dhaka in October.
The two other panel 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.
ACC sources said that unless the anti-graft body files a First Information Report, it cannot proceed from its enquiry to an investigation as expected by the global lender.
The WB cancelled its $1.2 billion funding on June 29, saying it had proof of a "corruption conspiracy" involving Bangladeshi officials, executives of a Canadian firm and some individuals.
The global lender on September 21 decided to revive the loan after the Bangladesh government agreed to the WB's terms and conditions.

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