12:00 AM, February 01, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 01, 2013

Defiant committee dissolved

4th evaluation body testifies against Bridges Division secy

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Staff Correspondent

Having failed to influence members of the fourth evaluation committee in selecting Canadian firm SNC Lavalin, former secretary of the Bridges Division Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan dissolved the committee.
Two members of the committee told this to an Anti-Corruption Commission team yesterday. They are former Buet professor Ishtiak Ahmed and former additional director general of Water Development Board Mokbul Hossain.
The evaluation committee wanted to discard SNC Lavalin as it provided false information, but Mosharraf and Kazi Mohammad Ferdous, superintendent engineer of Bangladesh Bridge Authority, insisted on selecting the Canadian firm, they were quoted as telling the ACC probe team.
Mosharraf dissolved the committee, saying that Ishtiak and Mokbul had expressed their unwillingness to be on the committee due to their time constraint. But the fact is they never expressed their unwillingness, according to an ACC investigator.
Mosharraf did not even inform them before dissolving the committee.
Ishtiak and Mokbul are named as witnesses in the case filed by the ACC over the alleged corruption in the Padma bridge project. Two other witnesses in the case are Rafiqul Islam, former project director, and Tarun Tapan Dewan, former executive engineer of Roads and Highways.
According to the case statement, Mosharraf dissolved the evaluation committee four times between January and June 2010 in efforts to award the consulting job to the company of his choice.
In the case filed in December last year, the commission sued seven people, including Mosharraf, for conspiring to commit bribery. But the case did not include the name of former communications minister Syed Abul Hossain.
The WB cancelled its $1.2 billion funding on June 29 last year, 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 return to the project after the Bangladesh government agreed to its terms and conditions.

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