WB to appoint external panel

Assessing Padma Graft Probe 2 missions due this month
The World Bank will appoint an external panel to assess the investigation carried out by the Anti-Corruption Commission into the corruption allegation in the Padma bridge project.

Two WB missions are likely to arrive in Dhaka this month for the purpose, its Country Director for Bangladesh Ellen Goldstein said yesterday.

The statement came in response to the media queries about the postponement of the visit of a WB team in regard to the project, said a WB official.

The WB cancelled its $1.2 billion credit for the Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project in June, saying it had proof of a corruption conspiracy involving Bangladeshi officials, executives of a Canadian firm and private individuals. On September 20, it declared its decision to engage anew in the project.

A team of four to five members was scheduled to arrive in Dhaka yesterday but suddenly the programme was delayed without showing any reason.

Ellen Goldstein said the global lender was currently coordinating the schedules of the mission members.

One mission would introduce an external panel of eminent anti-corruption experts to begin assessing the fairness of the investigation conducted by ACC into “the evidence of corruption in the project,” she said.

The visit of a WB team was postponed to choose members of the expert panel and coordinate their arrival schedules, a WB official said.

The three-five expert panel would submit a report to the WB in one month, a finance ministry official said, adding the WB financing of the project depended on the report.

In conjunction with the assessment, Ellen Goldstein said, the second mission would collaborate with the co-financiers in modifying the project implementation arrangements to ensure greater oversight of procurement processes.

A World Bank-IMF annual meeting will be held in Tokyo, Japan from October 8 to 14. Most of their high officials will be busy in the meeting and so, the WB team is likely to come to Dhaka after that.


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