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Forget Cricket Talk about anything [within Board Rules, of course :) ]

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  #1  
Old June 15, 2012, 02:43 PM
PoorFan PoorFan is offline
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Default Padma Bridge Financing

Interesting conditions from WB, though I dont like the idea of 'An independent firm has to be appointed to monitor implementation' and 'co-financiers will have to be actively involved in the procurement process'. Rest of the conditions looks fine and will benefit BD interest.

Quote:


Padma Bridge Financing

WB lays out 5 conditions

Writes letter to PM




Rejaul Karim Byron
The World Bank has finally broken the ice over its financing of the Padma bridge project proposing five new conditions for the government to ensure corruption-free implementation of the project.

In a letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina early this month, WB Vice President Isabel Guerrer elaborated the steps the government has to take to get WB funding for the massive project, finance ministry sources told this correspondent on Wednesday.

In September last year, the WB suspended its funding of the $2.9 billion Padma Multipurpose Bridge project on graft allegations. It had committed $1.2 billion.

In her letter, the WB vice president said a high-powered investigation team has to be formed to probe the allegations of corruption in the bridge project.
An independent firm has to be appointed to monitor implementation of the project, the letter said.

According to the WB proposal, the independent firm will not be under the government or any co-financier of the bridge project. It will make its recommendations independently, and the authorities concerned will implement those.

The persons against whom there are allegations of corruption regarding the bridge project would not be in its implementation.

Another condition is that the co-financiers will have to be actively involved in the procurement process for the bridge.

Besides, the WB suggested that as a long term step, the government will take initiative to increase the capacity of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

Contacted, a high official of the finance ministry said top policymakers discussed the WB letter in the last few days, and the government replied to it on Wednesday.
The government has disagreed with some of the conditions, and asked the WB to revise those. The two sides will soon discuss the conditions in detail, added the official, requesting anonymity.

On the corruption allegations concerning construction of the bridge, the WB submitted a report to the government in September last year. In April this year, the bank submitted a second report based on the findings of the Canadian government's investigation into allegations of graft in appointment of a supervising consultant for the bridge.

The WB and other co-financiers have extended loan effectiveness deadline several times and the last one will expire on July 27.
Work on the bridge project has remained stalled since September last year.
Against this backdrop, the government has taken initiatives for finding alternative sources of fund. And it has signed recently a memorandum of understanding with Malaysia for funding the bridge project.

Meanwhile, WB Country Director Ellen Goldstein on Wednesday held a meeting with representatives of the project's co-financiers -- Asian Development Bank and Japan International Cooperation Agency -- at the WB office in Dhaka.
The WB's letter to the government and its reply were presented at the meeting, officials of the co-financiers told this correspondent yesterday.

Earlier on Wednesday, Goldstein said the WB did not shelve the Padma bridge project and it was still talking with the government on the issue.
“I remain hopeful, very hopeful about the Padma bridge,” she said at a meeting organised by American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Bangladesh.
Daily Star
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  #2  
Old June 15, 2012, 05:24 PM
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BANFAN BANFAN is offline
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Appointing independent firm isn't new, its standard procedure of all ADB and WB projects. They are called consulting companies, appointed to ensure the quality of the work by the contractors, basically according to FIDIC Laws developed by these banks. But they generally works in between the Govt. And the Cpntractor. This is all over the world even in European projects. But what's new is the following part:

Quote:
the independent firm will not be under the government or any co-financier of the bridge project. It will make its recommendations independently, and the authorities concerned will implement those
So the government/contractor won't be able to do corruption and steal money, since ministry can't pay until the consultant approves. If the consultant would work under the Ministry, ministry had enough power to manipulate the consultant, since consultants payments are subject to again ministry approval. We know why WB is coming up with such conditions. If govt is sincere with the project, why can't they accept it?
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Last edited by BANFAN; June 15, 2012 at 06:09 PM..
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  #3  
Old June 20, 2012, 01:04 AM
PoorFan PoorFan is offline
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পদ্মা সেতু নিয়ে দুদকে বিশ্বব্যাংকের প্রতিবেদন

১০% ঘুষ চান মন্ত্রী-সচিব

অনিকা ফারজানা | তারিখ: ২০-০৬-২০১২



« আগের সংবাদ পরের সংবাদ»




পদ্মা সেতু প্রকল্পে পরামর্শক প্রতিষ্ঠানের জন্য বরাদ্দ ছিল চার কোটি ৭০ লাখ ডলার। পরামর্শক প্রতিষ্ঠানের কাজ পাইয়ে দেওয়ার জন্য কানাডাভিত্তিক প্রতিষ্ঠান এসএনসি-লাভালিনের কাছে ১০ শতাংশ অর্থ কমিশন চেয়েছিলেন যোগাযোগ মন্ত্রণালয়ের শীর্ষ তিনজন। তাঁরা হলেন: সাবেক যোগাযোগমন্ত্রী সৈয়দ আবুল হোসেন, সেতু বিভাগের সাবেক সচিব মোশাররাফ হোসাইন ভূইঞা এবং পদ্মা সেতুর সাবেক প্রকল্প পরিচালক রফিকুল ইসলাম। তাঁদের প্রতিনিধিরা এই অর্থ কমিশন হিসেবে চান।

অর্থের অবৈধ লেনদেনের জন্য গ্রেপ্তার হওয়া এসএনসি-লাভালিনের সাবেক প্রধান নির্বাহী কর্মকর্তা পিয়েরে দুহাইমের কাছ থেকে এই তথ্য পেয়েছে কানাডার পুলিশ। আর বিশ্বব্যাংকের কাছ থেকে এই তথ্য পেয়েছে দুর্নীতি দমন কমিশন (দুদক)। প্রতিবেদনে রাজনৈতিকভাবে প্রভাবশালীদের সম্পৃক্ততার তথ্যও রয়েছে।
দুর্নীতির এই সুনির্দিষ্ট তথ্য পেয়ে নতুন করে আবার তদন্ত শুরু করেছে দুদক। সম্প্রতি বিশ্বব্যাংক সরকারের কাছে একটি চিঠি দিয়ে পদ্মা সেতুর দুর্নীতি নিয়ে একটি উচ্চপর্যায়ের কমিটি গঠন করার আহ্বান জানায়। সরকার নতুন কোনো কমিটি গঠন না করলেও দুদকই নতুন করে তদন্ত শুরু করেছে। এর অংশ হিসেবে ১৪ জুন দুদক সাবেক পররাষ্ট্র প্রতিমন্ত্রী আবুল হাসান চৌধুরীকে জিজ্ঞাসাবাদ করেছে। আর গতকাল মঙ্গলবার জিজ্ঞাসাবাদ করেছে জাতীয় সংসদের হুইপ নূর-ই-আলম চৌধুরী লিটনের ভাই নিক্সন চৌধুরীকে। এর আগে গত ফেব্রুয়ারিতে দুদক বলেছিল, তারা পদ্মা সেতু প্রকল্পে কোনো দুর্নীতি খুঁজে পায়নি।

সূত্র জানায়, মালয়েশিয়ার সঙ্গে সমঝোতা সই করলেও সরকার এখন বিশ্বব্যাংকসহ দাতাদের ঋণেই পদ্মা সেতু প্রকল্পের বাস্তবায়ন চায়। এরই অংশ হিসেবে দুদক তদন্ত করছে বলে জানা গেছে। এ নিয়ে দুদক তথ্য চাইলে বিশ্বব্যাংকের পক্ষ থেকে একটি প্রতিবেদন দেওয়া হয় সরকারকে। ওই প্রতিবেদন থেকেই দুর্নীতির সুনির্দিষ্ট অভিযোগ জানতে পারে দুদক। প্রতিবেদনে সাবেক যোগাযোগমন্ত্রী সৈয়দ আবুল হোসেন, তাঁর পরামর্শক প্রতিষ্ঠান সাকো ইন্টারন্যাশনালের সংশ্লিষ্টতা এবং সেতু বিভাগের সাবেক সচিব মোশাররাফ হোসাইন ভূইঞা ও প্রকল্প পরিচালক রফিকুল ইসলামের পারস্পরিক স্বার্থসংশ্লিষ্ট বিষয়ে তথ্য রয়েছে বলে দুদক সূত্র জানায়।
সাবেক যোগাযোগ মন্ত্রী দেশের বাইরে থাকায় তাঁর সঙ্গে যোগাযোগ করা সম্ভব হয়নি। মোশাররাফ হোসাইন ভূইয়া বর্তমানে প্রধানমন্ত্রীর কার্যালয়ের অধীন বাংলাদেশ রপ্তানি প্রক্রিয়াকরণ কর্তৃপক্ষের নির্বাহী চেয়ারম্যান। তাকেও পাওয়া যায়নি।

কমিশনের হাতে বিশ্বব্যাংকের প্রতিবেদন রয়েছে বলে নিশ্চিত করেছেন দুদকের চেয়ারম্যান গোলাম রহমান। গতকাল প্রথম আলোকে তিনি বলেন, ‘কঠোর নিরাপত্তার মধ্যে বাংলাদেশে আসা বিশ্বব্যাংকের ওই প্রতিবেদনে পদ্মা সেতু নির্মাণে পরামর্শক নিয়োগের বিষয়ে বেশ কিছু অসংগতির তথ্য রয়েছে। সেগুলো যাচাই-বাছাই করে অনুসন্ধানের পরিধি বাড়িয়েছে দুদকের তদন্ত দল।’
নাম না প্রকাশের শর্তে দুদকের তদন্ত দলের এক কর্মকর্তা বলেন, ‘এসএনসি-লাভালিনের কাছে ঘুষ চাওয়ার প্রমাণ পেয়েছে কানাডীয় তদন্ত দল। কিন্তু কানাডার আইন আর বাংলাদেশের আইনের প্রেক্ষাপট এক নয়। কানাডার প্রেক্ষাপটে ঘুষ লেনদেনের চেয়ে এ বিষয়ে কথা বলাই অপরাধ। কিন্তু বাংলাদেশে ঘুষ লেনদেনের বিষয়টি প্রমাণিত হলে তা পরে অপরাধ হিসেবে গণ্য হয়। ফলে দুই দেশের আইনের পার্থক্যে ও সংস্কৃতি পার্থক্যের কারণে প্রতিবেদনের হেরফের হতে পারে বলে জানান তিনি।

সূত্র জানায়, পদ্মা সেতুর পরামর্শক নিয়োগের ক্ষেত্রে মূল্যায়ন কমিটি পাঁচটি প্রতিষ্ঠানের নাম সুপারিশ করেছিল। প্রতিষ্ঠানগুলো হলো: এসএনসি-লাভালিন, যুক্তরাজ্যের হালক্রো গ্রুপ, নিউজিল্যান্ডের একম অ্যান্ড এ জেড এল, জাপানের ওরিয়েন্টাল কনসালট্যান্ট কোম্পানি লিমিটেড এবং যুক্তরাজ্য ও নেদারল্যান্ডের যৌথ বিনিয়োগের প্রতিষ্ঠান হাই পয়েন্ট রেন্ডাল। এর মধ্যে এসএনসি-লাভালিনকে সর্বনিম্ন দরদাতা হিসেবে বিবেচনায় নিয়ে অনুমোদনের জন্য বিশ্বব্যাংকের কাছে পাঠানো হয়েছিল। এর পরই এ নিয়ে দুর্নীতির অভিযোগ ওঠে এবং বিশ্বব্যাংক ১২০ কোটি ডলার সহায়তা স্থগিত করে দেয়। এ নিয়ে কানাডা পুলিশ এখনো তদন্ত করছে। আর তদন্তে পাওয়া প্রাথমিক তথ্য অনুযায়ী, বিশ্বব্যাংক এসএনসি-লাভালিনকে কালো তালিকাভুক্ত করেছে।

বিশ্বব্যাংক প্রতিবেদন অনুযায়ী, সাবেক পররাষ্ট্র প্রতিমন্ত্রী আবুল হাসান চৌধুরী তাঁর আত্মীয় জিয়াউল হককে নিয়ে সাবেক যোগাযোগমন্ত্রী সৈয়দ আবুল হাসানের সঙ্গে সেতু ভবনে পদ্মা সেতু-সম্পর্কিত এক বৈঠকে অংশ নেন। তাঁর ওই আত্মীয় হচ্ছেন বাংলাদেশে কানাডিয়ান এসএনসি-লাভালিনের স্থানীয় একজন প্রতিনিধি। তাঁর ব্যবসায়িক প্রতিষ্ঠানের ঠিকানাও দেওয়া রয়েছে প্রতিবেদনে। লালমাটিয়ার এ ব্লকের ৭/৪ নম্বর বাড়ি। প্রতিষ্ঠানের নাম ইঞ্জিনিয়ারিং অ্যান্ড প্ল্যানিং কনসালট্যান্ট কোম্পানি লিমিটেড। দুদকের জিজ্ঞাসাবাসে তিনি ওই বৈঠকের কথা স্বীকার করেছেন। তবে এতে কোনো অর্থের লেনদেন হয়নি বলে তিনি দাবি করেন।

এ ছাড়া, জাতীয় সংসদের হুইপ নূর-ই-আলম চৌধুরী লিটনের ভাই নিক্সন চৌধুরীর সঙ্গে এসএনসি-লাভালিনের বাংলাদেশি কর্মকর্তা ইসমাইল হোসেনের ঘনিষ্ঠতার বিষয়টি উল্লেখ রয়েছে প্রতিবেদনে। কানাডা ও বাংলাদেশের যেসব হোটেলে তাঁদের নিয়মিত সাক্ষাৎ হতো তার ঠিকানা ও সময়সূচিও প্রতিবেদনে উল্লেখ করা হয়েছে। নিক্সন চৌধুরী পিতা মরহুম সাংসদ ইলিয়াস আহমেদ চৌধুরীর রেখে যাওয়া পারিবারিক ঠিকাদারি প্রতিষ্ঠান রিতা কনস্ট্রাকশন ও মহাখালীতে একটি সিএনজি ফিলিং স্টেশনের দেখাশোনা করেন। বিশ্বব্যাংকের প্রতিবেদনে বলা হয়েছে, পদ্মা সেতুর দরপত্রে অংশগ্রহণ করার পরই উভয়ের মধ্যকার দেখা-সাক্ষাৎ শুরু হয়। এসব বৈঠকে সেতু বিভাগের সাবেক সচিব এবং প্রকল্প পরিচালকও উপস্থিত থাকতেন বলে বিশ্বব্যাংকের প্রতিবেদনে উল্লেখ রয়েছে।

সূত্র জানায়, বিশ্বব্যাংক দুর্নীতির অভিযোগ প্রথম তুলেছিল গত বছরের সেপ্টেম্বরে। সে সময়ে অর্থমন্ত্রীকে একটি চিঠি দিয়ে এই দুর্নীতির সঙ্গে সৈয়দ আবুল হোসেনের সম্পৃক্ততার কথা জানানো হয়। এরপর সরকার মন্ত্রী, সচিব ও প্রকল্প পরিচালককে অন্যত্র সরিয়ে দিলেও আর কোনো ব্যবস্থা নেওয়া হয়নি। সৈয়দ আবুল হোসেন এখন তথ্য ও যোগাযোগ-প্রযুক্তিমন্ত্রী বিশ্বব্যাংক এর পর থেকে দায়ীদের বিরুদ্ধে ব্যবস্থা নেওয়ার কথা বলে সাহায্য স্থগিত করে রাখে। এরপর গত এপ্রিলে দুর্নীতির প্রমাণ দিয়ে আবার একটি চিঠি দেয় বিশ্বব্যাংক। তাতেও সরকার কোনো উদ্যোগ নেয়নি। সবশেষ চলতি মাসে আবার একটি চিঠি দেওয়ার পর তদন্ত শুরু করে দুদক।

নিক্সন চৌধুরীকে জিজ্ঞাসাবাদ: গতকাল সকাল সোয়া নয়টায় সেগুনবাগিচায় দুদকের কার্যালয়ে উপস্থিত হন নিক্সন চৌধুরী। ১১টা পর্যন্ত তাঁকে জিজ্ঞাসাবাদ করা হয়। এরপর তিনি দ্রুত একটি গাড়িতে উঠে চলে যান।
পরে দুদকের চেয়ারম্যান গোলাম রহমান সাংবাদিকদের বলেন, ‘পদ্মা সেতুর পরামর্শক নিয়োগ-প্রক্রিয়ায় অনিয়মের বিষয়ে বিশ্বব্যাংক কিছু তথ্য-উপাত্ত দুদককে দিয়েছে। এর পরিপ্রেক্ষিতে বিষয়টি নিয়ে জোরেশোরে অনুসন্ধানে নেমেছে দুদক। এই অনুসন্ধানের বিষয়ে এ মাসের শেষে বা আগামী মাসের প্রথম দিকে কানাডীয় পুলিশের কাছ থেকে বেশ কিছু তথ্য-প্রমাণ পাবে দুদক।
দুদকের চেয়ারম্যান বলেন, এসএনসি-লাভালিনের দুই কর্মকর্তাকে সম্প্রতি আটক করে তাঁদের বিরুদ্ধে আইনি ব্যবস্থা নিয়েছে কানাডা। দুদক ওই দুই ব্যক্তির বিষয়ে তথ্য-উপাত্ত সংগ্রহ করছে। নিক্সন চৌধুরীকে জিজ্ঞাসাবাদ নিয়ে এক প্রশ্নের জবাবে দুদকের চেয়ারম্যান বলেন, এসএনসি-লাভালিনের সঙ্গে তাঁর সম্পৃক্ততার প্রমাণ পাওয়া গেছে। এ নিয়েই তাঁকে জিজ্ঞাসাবাদ করা হয়েছে।

Prothom Alo
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Old June 20, 2012, 01:38 AM
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Nixon! What an appropriate name to have in this sordid affair
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Old June 30, 2012, 12:18 AM
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Well done Abul and gong, an epic fail for Hasina govt. and again we the mess people are ultimate loser.

Quote:
Saturday, June 30, 2012

WB cancels Padma bridge loan





BBC Online
The World Bank has pulled out of a project to build Bangladesh's largest bridge, citing corruption concerns.


In a statement, the bank said it was cancelling its $1.2bn (£764m) credit for the 6km-long (four miles) the road-rail bridge across the Padma River.

It accused the government in Dhaka of failing to investigate claims of high-level fraud in connection with the project.


Bangladesh has so far not commented on the World Bank's decision.

'Unsatisfactory' response
"The World Bank can not, should not, and will not turn a blind eye to evidence of corruption," the Washington-based institution said in the statement on Friday.

It said that the bank had provided evidence of corruption from two investigations to Bangladesh's government last September, asking to suspend officials suspected of corruption.

It also said it had sent a high-level team to Dhaka to fully explain its position on the issue


But Dhaka's response, the statement added, "has been unsatisfactory".

The corruption allegations also involve two former executives from Canada's engineering company SNC-Lavalin.

The company has been under investigation by Canada's prosecutors for more than a year, and the two executives now face charges of trying to bribe Bangladeshi officials.


The Padma bridge project aims to connect Bangladesh's principal sea ports and link to the Dhaka-Chittagong Highway.

Analysts say that some 30 million people in the region could directly benefit from the new road and rail connection.

At present all traffic across the Padma has to rely on ferries, which are infrequent and often unsafe.
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Old June 30, 2012, 01:24 AM
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Abul is Rehana's man in the cabinet and will never pay for what he does on account of the PM's weakness for her only surviving sibling. The same could be said of Taposh and Selim's men in the cabinet on account of the PM's weakness for her surrogate brothers.

Such a weakness is doing to her and the Party what her father's own weakness for certain family members during his reign. Zikhron d'vorim, the past continues.

That being said, the project will go forward with alternate financing, possibly from Malaysian investors.
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Old June 30, 2012, 08:15 AM
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It would be interesting to see just how the WB action influences ADB and JICA over the next few weeks. All in all, this is a blessing in disguise for the Bangladeshi people in the long run. I hope future governments would take project financing more seriously by ensuring better transparency, and try and procure financing in more competitive ways from multiple sources.
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Old June 30, 2012, 10:43 AM
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ADB and JICA will follow WB step for sure, they have lot more projects in the world to invest. This WB and co., will not just let this issue go without making a point/lesson for BD and rest of their 'market'. Future govt and project have to go through unpleasent 'political' talk even before placing any proposal, let alone sanction its loan. Cant be a blessing for Bangladeshi people but definitely a bad reputation to be pointed out for long.

On the other hand, Malaysian investment seems to have higher interest rate and tougher conditions [term of lease] as we hear.
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Old July 1, 2012, 12:01 AM
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Of course there's no upside to this now. I was talking about the long run in my post. This will force reform over time because our economy, especially in light of the cyclical recessions such as the type we're experiencing now coupled with high price of the USD, can't take too many hits. We have a culture of foreign currency depletion through "hundi" and other means, and with the notable absence of a gold standard to provide supplementary stability, such promised influx of funds not coming into the country makes things worse. Hopefully more inward remittance from largely working class Bangladeshis working abroad can ease the blow before the wealthy take a large part of it out of the country again.

The Malaysians will try and get every business advantage they can out of this disaster. The government will agree to higher interest rates and terms more favorable to Malaysia to push this through in order to save face. That being said, I don't think this government will or can allow those favorable terms to damage our national interest.

In a fair world, Rehana, Abul, Nixon and their Canadian buddies would be forced to foot the difference.
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Last edited by Sohel; July 1, 2012 at 12:40 AM..
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Old July 1, 2012, 01:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PoorFan
........

On the other hand, Malaysian investment seems to have higher interest rate and tougher conditions [term of lease] as we hear.
there will be no outright interest in this funding, since it is Build, Operate, Manage and Transfer.... Basis. But ultimately government will be loser, since the investing company will take the earnings for a long time, before handing over. While government could earn from day one if the project would be funded by WB.

Anyway we are loser, although AL (Minister) is trying to convince people that the Mal investment is better since there is no interest.
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Old July 2, 2012, 02:30 AM
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Interesting that the WB itself is under heavy scrutiny now from Forbes and others. I don't think either ADB or JICA will necessarily parrot WB's line now. We shall see what unfolds over the coming weeks.
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Old July 2, 2012, 02:51 AM
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Now ADB walks in WB step.

Quote:
Monday, July 2, 2012
ADB also withdraws loan for Padma bridge




Star Online Report
Asian Development Bank, a co-financer of World Bank, in a statement on Monday said it will not fund for the Padma bridge project.


"ADB understands and respects the reasons that have led the WB to its decision. ADB and the WB follow similar policies, rules and procedures on governance and fiduciary oversight," the statement said.

"However, given the importance of the project to the country and the region, ADB also deeply regrets that both parties were unable to reach a workable agreement to move the operation forward," the statement added.


It also said the ADB had earlier been informed by the WB of its decision to withdraw its financing from the Padma bridge project.

The ADB also termed Padma as a landmark project for Bangladesh and the region and said, "The World Bank is the lead financier and arranger, working alongside the Asian Development Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency and Islamic Development Bank."


ADB has a longstanding relationship with the government of Bangladesh and its people and reiterates its commitment to their long term development needs, the statement added.
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Old July 2, 2012, 02:54 AM
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JICA going through the same process as expected.

Quote:
Monday, July 2, 2012

Decision on Padma funding after talks with Japan govt: Jica





Star Online Report
Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), a co-financer of Padma bridge project, in a statement on Monday said it would take decision on the project after having a discussion with Japan government.


Jaica's formal statement came two days after the leading financer of the project World Bank 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.


Jica was committed to funding $400 million for the Padma bridge project.
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Old July 2, 2012, 03:00 AM
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Bummer.
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Old July 2, 2012, 03:07 AM
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Some interesting quotes from Muhit in this report.

Quote:
Monday, July 2, 2012
Front Page
Padma Loan Cancellation

Govt wants WB to review decision

Muhith says WB's evidence not acceptable


Staff Correspondent
The government hopes that the World Bank will reconsider its decision to cancel the funding of the Padma bridge project, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said yesterday.
Muhith held a press conference to clarify the government's position a day after the global lender 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.

He said the executive director, who represents Bangladesh at the bank, had been continuing talks with WB officials on the matter.
In his statement, the minister said the government had kept the other financiers informed about its steps and hoped that they would analyse the WB's step.
“In order to reach an understanding with the World Bank and keep the Padma bridge project completely free of corruption, we had accepted many of its demands,” Muhith told journalists at his office in the capital yesterday evening.

“Our purpose was to resolve the matter in such a way that we would not have to sign any humiliating memorandum of understanding over possible corruption, and the Anti-Corruption Commission would not accept any terms of reference with a foreign panel in order to maintain its independence.”








Muhith said the government wanted to reach an understanding with the WB by exchanging letters with it on the project's implementation and the issue of continuing the probe.

“And to that end, we accepted many of the World Bank's conditions by relaxing our rules and regulations.
“Despite all this, it is really undesirable and mysterious that the World Bank cancelled the loan and issued a humiliating notice,” said the minister, urging the bank to reconsider its decision.

The WB on Friday cancelled its funding for the project, saying it had “credible evidence corroborated by a variety of sources which points to a high-level corruption conspiracy among Bangladeshi government officials, SNC-Lavalin executives and private individuals in connection with the Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project."
The project's major donor also said, "The World Bank cannot, should not, and will not turn a blind eye to evidence of corruption."

Muhith noted that the WB had said it had given Bangladesh credible evidence on corrupt practices. “But their credible evidence is not acceptable to us because the evidence comes from statements of individuals whose names are unknown to us; and whose names they [the WB] would not give us… which is their [WB's] technique.
“Their credible evidence will be credible in our law when witnesses can be found.”
Muhith said the Canadian authorities had sat with the government but refused to give Dhaka the evidence saying it would hinder their investigation.

“The World Bank has produced one credible evidence -- writings from a personal diary of the accused person of the Canadian company [SNC-Lavalin]. This writing is not acceptable to our court or any other court in the world until it is independently corroborated.
“So, their claim of having credible evidence is completely meaningless.”
The minister said he would discuss the matter in detail at today's parliament session.

Muhith refuted the WB's allegation that Bangladesh did not take appropriate steps to prevent a corruption conspiracy.
He produced before the media some government correspondence with the World Bank. The minister, however, did not show any correspondence from the lending agency for the sake of the ongoing investigation.
The government had been exchanging letters with the WB for the last nine months, he said, adding: “We have taken steps to remove the World Bank's suspicion.

“For example, we have brought about changes in leadership in the bridge's project. It seems that the World Bank did not take those into cognisance. Rather it [the bank] recommended further investigation into the appointment of the construction contractor, focusing its attention on the consultant.”
The finance minister said the bank asked for an intensification of the investigation having taken into consideration the activities of the Canadian authorities.

The ACC opened a probe in August last year and gave a report on the matter to the bank in February, he said and added, “From time to time we only inquired about the progress of the investigation. We came to know that the World Bank did not provide any additional evidence in support of the accusation it had made. The Anti-Corruption Corruption has been carrying out the inquiry in its own way.”
When a WB team held talks with the Economic Relations Division (ERD) and the ACC early last month, the government requested the team to view the allegation and the project's implementation as two issues instead of linking the two.

The bank sent another team to Dhaka on June 23 for further discussions with the ERD and the ACC. This time the WB gave three conditions, two of which the government did not agree to accept -- signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the bank and a Terms of Reference with a panel of foreign consultants.
The ACC was looking into the allegations independently and the government could not form a judicial commission for the same, Muhith said replying to a query. “But if the government, the Anti-Corruption Commission and the World Bank agree on that matter [forming a judicial commission], I have nothing to say."

The minister, however, stopped halfway a reporter's question on a WB report that mentioned former communications minister Syed Abul Hossain's involvement in the alleged graft conspiracy.
Interrupting the reporter, he said, “I shall not comment on this matter. I do not know from where you have 'stolen' this [information]. And I am not going to give you the letter [the WB report on corruption given in last September].

On whether Prof Muhammad Yunus had anything to do with the cancellation of the funding as some quarters would suggest, Muhith said, “I do not know anything.”
Asked about alternative funding, the minister said there were two designs for the project. The one that was chosen is aesthetically beautifully and costlier. “If there is a fund crisis, we will go for the cheaper one.”
Terming the WB as one of Bangladesh's “friendly organisations," he said since liberation the bank had given the country $1,680 crore for 251 projects. At present, 35 WB-financed projects worth $495 crore are going on.
Muhith expressed his hope that the other WB-funded projects would continue smoothly even after the cancellation of the Padma bridge funding.

THE PROJECT
The project's work has remained stalled since September last year amid graft allegations forcing the government to engage further with the WB in settling the issue and also look for alternative funding for the $2.9 billion project.
The proposed 6.2-kilometre (3.85 miles) bridge over the Padma river was to connect the capital with the country's 16 southwestern districts. The bridge was to have a road and rail line.

The WB apart, the Asian Development Bank pledged a $615-million loan for the project. Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) and Islamic Development Bank (IDB) also signed agreements with the government on making available $400 million and $140 million respectively.

The WB's credit cancellation will mean a further delay in implementing the project, which is considered crucial for about 30 million people in the southern region expected to benefit from the new road and rail connections.
At present, all traffic across the Padma relies on ferries.
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Old July 2, 2012, 03:10 AM
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Sohel Sohel is offline
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@PF: Can you please share some of your thoughts on what Muhit Shaheb's saying here?
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Old July 2, 2012, 03:15 AM
Zunaid Zunaid is offline
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I'm seriously concerned about Muhith. I had met him many times in the 80s and he then seemed very learned and erudite. These days he just sounds like someone past due date - his Yunus antics and his WB-Padma Bridge statements just make me think that not all cylinders are firing these days. Shame really.
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Old July 2, 2012, 03:18 AM
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Sohel Sohel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zunaid
I'm seriously concerned about Muhith. I had met him many times in the 80s and he then seemed very learned and erudite. These days he just sounds like someone past due date - his Yunus antics and his WB-Padma Bridge statements just make me think that not all cylinders are firing these days. Shame really.
It gives me no pleasure to concur with you 100%. Cranky, senile and out of his depth ever since he made the unfortunate choice to partake in Yunusing, it pains me to witness his decline.
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Old July 2, 2012, 05:14 AM
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Antora Antora is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zunaid
I'm seriously concerned about Muhith. I had met him many times in the 80s and he then seemed very learned and erudite. These days he just sounds like someone past due date - his Yunus antics and his WB-Padma Bridge statements just make me think that not all cylinders are firing these days. Shame really.
Sadly, it seems as though a lot of politicians like him are declining. It's as though there's no place in Bangladeshi politics for people like him.

I've been following this bridge financing issue on the news and some of the stuff he says is just
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Old July 2, 2012, 12:20 PM
PoorFan PoorFan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sohel NR
@PF: Can you please share some of your thoughts on what Muhit Shaheb's saying here?
Well, his comments these days are ridiculous to say the least, for example his 'Personal opinion' comment on WB president cant be more funnier than this. Though some of his comments in this report I tend to support his stand, but rest are just desperate try not to call their failure a failure.

Quote:
“In order to reach an understanding with the World Bank and keep the Padma bridge project completely free of corruption, we had accepted many of its demands,” Muhith told journalists at his office in the capital yesterday evening.
“Our purpose was to resolve the matter in such a way that we would not have to sign any humiliating memorandum of understanding over possible corruption, and the Anti-Corruption Commission would not accept any terms of reference with a foreign panel in order to maintain its independence.”
This has been the comment on latest demand from WB I assume, and I support his stand. However they should have started a probe last year [see last part of my post], but they ignored just to show no corruption links are there, and they tried to prove they are 'right', doing absolutely 'nothing'!

Quote:
Muhith noted that the WB had said it had given Bangladesh credible evidence on corrupt practices. “But their credible evidence is not acceptable to us because the evidence comes from statements of individuals whose names are unknown to us; and whose names they [the WB] would not give us… which is their [WB's] technique.
“Their credible evidence will be credible in our law when witnesses can be found.”

“The World Bank has produced one credible evidence -- writings from a personal diary of the accused person of the Canadian company [SNC-Lavalin]. This writing is not acceptable to our court or any other court in the world until it is independently corroborated.
“So, their claim of having credible evidence is completely meaningless.
Meaningless in regards to charge anyone for financial crime I guess, but absolutely meaningful to start a probe in BD side. Otherwise what exactly our Muhit and co. expect from WB and Canada? do the investigation job in BD on their own, and just name them with evidence to BD? This seems to be incompetence from our side, I mean there is big gap in understanding [I guess] between what WB and donors want, and what BD want. Its cant be only their responsibility to investigate and protect corruption! BD needed to take same extent of responsibility too!!

They should have started a probe against SAKA international last year September. They should have siege their office, and documents, and bring in some of their officials for questioning, and put some kind of movement restriction until some extent to their probe. Not necessarily needed to charge them for financial crime, but a probe based on WB allegation as well as Canadian police action against SNC-Lavlin should have been enough to start a probe. This probe would have been ensured BD working as good as Canadian police, and WB could not be able to run all over the field as it liked, and take shot in a free goal as it did at the end. Instead ACC did absolutely nothing but asking for 'proof' to WB and Canadian police for months! What a 'mamar barir abdar'!!
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Old July 2, 2012, 12:27 PM
PoorFan PoorFan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BANFAN
there will be no outright interest in this funding, since it is Build, Operate, Manage and Transfer.... Basis.
Actually we still dont know If total amount 3bill dollar will be provided by Malaysia govt./company or not. It still depends I guess.
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Old July 2, 2012, 01:56 PM
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1. Shahadat Hossain: Mufambisi c Mashud; Chigumbura lbw; Utseya c Mashud
2.
Abdur Razzak: P Utseya caught; RW Price lbw; CB Mpofu lbw
3. Rubel Hossain: Corey J A bowled; BB McCullum caught; JDS Neesham caught
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Old July 2, 2012, 05:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PoorFan
Actually we still dont know If total amount 3bill dollar will be provided by Malaysia govt./company or not. It still depends I guess.
Yes you are right, until there is an agreement, we can't be sure about it. But according to the statement of OK it seems to be the basic understanding between two parties:

OK's INTERVIEW
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Old July 2, 2012, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by akabir77
Ostagfirullah.... May God excuse them and guide them....
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Old July 2, 2012, 11:42 PM
F6_Turbo F6_Turbo is offline
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Why is the picture above relevant? And why can't a muslim pray to Allah for non-muslims. Maybe he's praying for their salvation?

In Bangladesh...yes how dare they inaugurate non muslim places of worship in Bangladesh. Bet they're the same tossers, who whinge when their plans for mosques are denied by City councils.

This is the kind of **** the Jamaat/BNP scum do before every election - all mosques will become temples...vote for us, vote for us.

Pathetic.


As for the actual topic of the thread, a complete disgrace. I know the WB isn't holy, and they, like all other donor agencies try and impose their will on countries...but that does not excuse the shambles this whole thing has turned into.

I knew the loan was going to get cancelled - old man still has a lot of contacts in the WB from his time working there, so no real surprise, but the entire fiasco is an embarrassment.
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