No corrupt firm would be awarded work order for the construction of the proposed Padma Bridge, Bridge Division Secretary Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan categorically said Monday, trying to dispel doubts.
He was addressing a press conference in the conference room of Press Information Department (PID) at the secretariat in the wake of allegations against a Canadian company.
The government official held the press briefing on an urgent basis to protest the news reports published in different dailies on alleged corruption in the process of warding contract for Padma Bridge construction.
Allegations have it that the Canadian company, SNC-Lavalin, one of the five primarily selected firms for the construction of the multipurpose bridge, managed to stand in the primary selection through bribery.
An 11-member team from the Canadian Royal Police is now conducting investigation against SNC-Lavalin over a World Bank allegation of corruption.
Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said, “As the contractor of any package of the mega-bridge project is yet to be appointed, any allegations about issuing work order through corruption is absolutely meaningless.”
He added: “If corruption allegation against any company is proved, then there is no scope for that company to get any work order.”
In this regard, he said, “Canadian police have not yet mentioned Padma Bridge’s name in their report, although the international news media mentioned the name of the project.”
He also said, “The WB’s guideline has been followed in appointing the Construction Supervision Consultant and the whole matter was sent to the WB in June last.”
He informed that the engineer who is in-charge of the Bridges Division has just provided official support to the process of appointing contractors.
The four other members of the committee are Prof Dr Zamilur Reza Chowdhury, VC of BRAC University, Dr Ainun Nishat, Dr Shafiullah from BUET and former WB employee Dr Daud Ahmed.
On the alleged corruption against SNC-Lavalin, the secretary said, “A section called Independent Integrity Department of the World Bank is responsible for conducting any such investigation if there is any allegation raised in project implementation.”
He, however, informed that the particular department has not yet launched any such investigation related to any Bangladeshi project so far.
In this regard, he also opined that the World Bank Country Director in Bangladesh never came up with any such corruption allegation.
However, the Canadian police already seized all the documents related to alleged corruption from SNC-Navalin’s Toronto office last Thursday.
World Bank Country Representative to Bangladesh Allen Goldstein in a recent statement said, “Canadian authorities have started a probe after receiving specific complaint about corruption in the tender process of Padma Bridge. Simultaneously, the World Bank itself has also started such investigation into the allegation.”
Allen Goldstein also disclosed that the World Bank is not disbursing any fund for the Padma Bridge project due to the ongoing probe.