12:00 AM, January 22, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 22, 2013

Padma Graft Conspiracy

Lift ban on use of info

ACC writes to WB

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Staff Correspondent

The Anti-Corruption Commission has urged the World Bank to lift the embargo on the use of information the global lender had provided regarding the corruption conspiracy in Padma bridge project.
If it is done, the ACC would be able to implicate some influential figures in the graft conspiracy case, said a high official of the anti-corruption watchdog.
The WB had shared some information with the ACC about former communications minister Syed Abul Hossain and some public and private officials, who were allegedly involved in the conspiracy, on condition that none of the piece of information can be used in the court of law or even cited as reference.
Early this month, the WB external panel in a letter wanted to know how the ACC would move forward with the investigation and sought a written reply to their eight queries.
ACC Chairman Ghulam Rahman yesterday said, "I have signed the letter today [Monday] and it has already been sent to the World Bank's local office. We want to carry out a transparent, complete, fair, comprehensive and adequate probe into the allegation."
"For this we seek help from all….the World Bank," Rahman told reporters while leaving his Segunbagicha office in the capital yesterday evening.
On December 17, 2012, after a year-long probe into the graft allegation, the ACC sued seven people for conspiring to take bribes. It accused secretary of the Bridges Division Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, but left out Syed Abul Hossain in the case.
About the 4 percent PCC, a euphemism used by SNC-Lavalin man Ramesh Shah in his diary to indicate the amount of bribes to be paid to Abul Hossain, the ACC chairman said, "We are working on it and seeking help from them [the WB]."
Canadian firm SNC-Lavalin had been awarded the job of consultant for the Padma bridge construction, but that got halted over the WB allegation of corruption.
Asked if the anti-graft commission would share the outcome of the remand interrogation of Mosharraf Hossain as per a proposal by the WB panel, Rahman replied in the affirmative.
On June 29, 2012, the WB cancelled its $1.2 billion credit for the $2.9-billion bridge project. It revived the deal in September imposing some terms and condition.

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