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Dhaka Tribune

WB-funded projects plagued by corruption

Update : 25 Apr 2015, 06:56 PM

The World Bank-financed several developing projects have allegedly been marred by graft, angering the bank that asked the government to return the funds by June this year.

Due to unfair tendering and procurement processes, some projects ended up in the hands of unqualified companies which failed to execute them at the required level, officials said.

The largest multilateral lending agency recently wrote to the Economic Relations Division (ERD) about the projects afflicted by corruption as procurement and bidding processes were not followed in accordance with their guidelines.

National Agricultural Technology Project worth $109,741 under the Department of Agriculture Extension is one of the projects.

The bank has found that equipment like AC and computer software were mis-procured, and bidder’s bank guarantee was fictitious.

In the $10,401 project titled Employment Generation Programme for the Poorest under the Disaster Management and Relief Ministry, it also found that daughter of the project director was the only bidder in one of the packages of the project and no existence of winning bidders for another package was found.

In the $28,166 Reaching Out-of-School Children Project-II under the Primary and Mass Education Ministry, the global lender observed that a bidder provided fake documents related to income tax, VAT registration and bank guarantee and the bidder won more than a package under the project.

In the $19,537 Strengthening Regional Cooperation for Wildlife Protection in Asia project under the Environment Ministry, WB said the procurement was made without any agreement.

In the $9,367 project styled under the Clean Air and Sustainable Environment of the Environment Ministry, it said the bidders were generated from the same sources as price was being printed in same style with similar spelling mistakes, alignment and orientation in all four quotations.

The bank has found mis-procurement in four other projects including Bangladesh Disability and Children and Risk, Second Rural Transport Improvement, Bangladesh Skills and Training Enhancement and Bangladesh Higher Education Quality Enhancement.

This has prompted the government to investigate the allegations, officials say.

“We are now justifying the allegations. If it is proved, the proper action will be taken against corrupt people involved with the tendering and procurement process,” said a high official on anonymity.

He said many development projects are being implemented below standard due to corruption, as many parts of the country where some schemes other than the WB-funded projects are introduced, has only fed the middlemen and local politicians at village level.

“We should work hard to fix all corruption loopholes since the vice is a major factor for underdevelopment of our country.”

In the past, the WB cancelled or withdrew funds from its financed many other projects alleging mis-procurement, unfair bidding process and many other malpractices. 

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