Bangladesh asks World Bank to reconsider cancelled bridge loan

Bangladesh on Thursday urged the World Bank to reconsider its decision to withdraw $1.2 billion in financing for the country’s longest river bridge, saying it will root out any suspected corruption in the tender process.

A World Bank spokesman in Washington said last month that Canadian authorities were investigating employees of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc for possible corruption in the bridge project.

The World Bank suspended the credit until the issue had been resolved.

The Finance Ministry said on Thursday that Bangladesh had proposed that the tender process move forward without the Canadian firm.

“The government has taken the allegation of corruption very seriously and the guilty, if found, will be punished,” Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith said.

The $2.9 billion bridge over the Padma River will connect the northwest of the country to the capital Dhaka and the port of Chittagong in the south.

Bangladesh topped the list of world’s most corrupt countries for five years until 2005, but the rating has slightly improved over the past few years.

Reuters

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