Padma loan cancellation appropriate: Kim

New World Bank President Jim Yong Kim has said the decision of the organisation's immediate past president to cancel the Padma bridge loan was appropriate.

The WB chief made the remarks during a media roundtable in Washington DC replying to a query from a journalist on July 2, the WB said.

Regarding Zoellick decision to Padma bridge loan cancellation, Kim replied, "I do think it was appropriate."

"I've been following the situation closely, and Mr Zoellick (former president of WB) and the senior staff have informed me fully about the decision," Kim said.

"The Bank has a sterling record in fighting corruption. The Bank was the first to raise the issue of corruption in the 1990s and has a no-tolerance policy for corruption. The discussions with the government of Bangladesh started in September. Even toward the very end, there were extensions given so that there would be what we would think of as an appropriate response; and not seeing one, we cancelled the bridge project," he said.

"Now, we're very concerned about the well-being of the poorest people in Bangladesh, but what I must stress is the Bank's position is that we do not tolerate corruption," he added.

The lead financer of the Padma bridge project World Bank on June 30 cancelled its $1.2 billion credit for the project claiming to have proof of a corruption conspiracy involving Bangladeshi officials, executives of a Canadian firm and private individuals.

After the WB decision, Asian Development Bank, a co-financer of the project, in a statement on Monday said it is unable to finance the Padma bridge project.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), another co-financer of the project, also said on Monday that it would make the decision on the project funding after consultation with the Japanese government.

News Source: 
The Daily Star