The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) said Wednesday it had sent separate letters to the World Bank (WB) and its wing Integrity Vice-Presidency (INT) requesting information on Padma Bridge irregularities.
“We have sent the letters in the first week of October,” Farrukh Ahmed, ACC director general (admin and establishment) told The Daily Star over phone in the afternoon. He however failed to say the exact date.
Addressing a regular ACC press briefing earlier in the day, he said the letters were sent to WB headquarters in Washington when reporters referred to a newspaper report that the WB is yet to receive any letter from the ACC in this regard.
Asked about the development in ACC investigation into the alleged corruption, he expressed ignorance, saying that 13 ACC officials including the chairman and the inquiry officer are now abroad.
The WB, which was to provide $1.2 billion for the $ 2.9 billion project, has suspended the allocation alleging corruption in the tender process for the project.
On September 19, ACC Chairman Golam Rahman said letters would be sent to the WB requesting information on the alleged corruption in the Padma bridge project.
Later on Oct 7, he told the BBC that the letter had been sent. He told the same day that the ACC will approach Canadian police for the same if it finds it necessary after receiving information from the WB.
Admitting for the first time on Monday that the World Bank has “temporarily halted” funding the Padma Bridge project, the government said the WB is waiting for the government’s response.
The government however has not yet made it clear what the graft allegations are, triggering speculations on the issue.
Making the disclosure, Finance Minister AMA Muhith told journalists that he would hold a press conference once he had “cleared all the troubles and all the messages”.
The minister declined to say anything about the allegations for the moment.
He also said the government would come forth with a statement on the issue.
Muhith said that side by side with the ACC, the government would also probe the graft allegations.
An AFP report quoted WB Country Director in Bangladesh Ellen Goldstein as saying: “We will not proceed until we are fully satisfied on the fraud and corruption front.”