World Bank wants ACC to move speedily with inquiry on Padma Bridge project: Goldstein

World Bank country director Ellen Goldstein on Sunday reiterated that the lending agency wants the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to move as speedily as possible in the process of investigation into the alleged corruptions on the Padma Bridge project.

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“We want to encourage the ACC to move with as much speed as possible on the inquiry process which will ultimately, we believe will put an end to the investigation. The faster they will move forward, the faster appropriate action will be taken in addressing any corruption problem that is found,” she said.

“And, of course, the faster we can move in implementing the bridge project,” added Goldstein while commenting on a query from a reporter on the latest situation on the Padma Bridge Project at an agreement signing ceremony at the Economic Relations Division (ERD).

She said that the project implementation process can go ahead with the investigation in parallel.

The World Bank country director said that a joint mission will be fielded shortly in Bangladesh comprising representatives from all the financiers of the Padma Bridge project to begin discussion on some of the changes in procedures that have already been agreed by the government.

“On that basis we’ll move forward to a very complicated implementation process with many large scale tendering process and a great deal of activity on the ground,” she said.

Replying to another query, Goldstein said that every project will always see multiple constraints and anything can arise. Problem can arise in any project including the Padma Bridge project.

She said that the World Bank’s panel of international experts has recently visited the country having a positive meeting with the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) where the panel agreed on how to work with the ACC.

The WB panel left the country leaving behind a written request to the ACC to provide additional information regarding the current inquiry process, she added.

The World Bank country director said that when the panel would receive the additional information and answers to their queries, it will be in a position to write their first report, “We are looking forward to receiving that (additional information).”

The three-member external panel of WB headed by Luis Moreno Ocampo, former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, assigned to review the investigation into the Padma Bridge corruption allegation, left Dhaka on October 16 wrapping up its two-day visit.

The World Bank cancelled its $1.2 billion credit for the $2.9 billion project on June 29 this year, saying it had credible evidence of a corruption conspiracy involving Bangladeshi officials, executives of a Canadian firm and some private individuals.

The WB, which decided to revive its loan on September 21 after the Bangladesh government agreed to its terms and conditions, appointed a three-member external panel early this month to assess the conduct of the ACC investigation.

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