False graft claim caused Padma bridge delay: PM | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 15, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 05:54 PM, February 15, 2017

False graft claim caused Padma bridge delay: PM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said the Padma bridge project suffered a setback due a false graft allegation raised by the World Bank.

“The country already achieved 7.11 percent GDP growth in the last fiscal year. Had the construction of the Padma bridge been started in due time, it would have been completed by now, adding around another 1 percent to the GDP. In the mean time, our GDP would have gone up to 8 percent, but that prospect was shattered,” she said.

The PM was speaking at an Ecnec meeting at the NEC conference room in the city. She presided over the meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec).

Without mentioning the name of Nobel laureate Dr Muhammad Yunus, she said the Padma bridge project was going to be halted as it was against the interest of an individual.

The premier said her government ensured that Bangladesh achieved a respectable position among the countries of the world and all the allegations brought against the government were proved to be false.

“Those who were active to interrupt the pace of development and worked against the government were also proved wrong. Now it has been proved internationally,” Hasina added.

She said following the false allegation of corruption raised by the World Bank over the Padma bridge project, a secretary (then Bridges Division secretary Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan) had to go to jail and nothing could be more disgraceful for him than this.

Mosharraf is now the senior secretary to the industries ministry.

The PM said the Awami League did not assume office to make its own fortune, but to build up the fortune of common people.

Hasina asked government officials and all others to discharge their duties sincerely and efficiently so that Bangladesh can become a middle-income country by 2021. She also hoped the country's progress would continue.

Earlier on Friday, a Canadian court acquitted two former officials of engineering firm SNC-Lavalin and a Bangladeshi-Canadian businessman of the charges of planning to bribe Bangladeshi officials to secure a consultancy contract in the Padma bridge project, in which the World Bank was supposed to be the lead financier.

The WB suspended its funding in October 2011. The other lenders followed suit.

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