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Dhaka Tribune

Padma Bridge Graft Case: ACC team to observe trial

Update : 15 Jul 2013, 05:29 AM

A special team of the Anti-corruption Commission will visit Canada again in the second week of September to observe the trial and hearing on the high profile Padma Bridge graft case.

The hearing on the graft case filed in connection with the appointment of a supervising consultant is scheduled to be held on September 9.

The Anti-corruption Commission team will attend and observe the hearing, ACC Chairman M Bodiuzzaman told journalists yesterday at the ACC headquarters.

“They are likely to fly to Canada in the first week of the next month,” the chairman said.

Earlier in May, a two member team consisting of ACC legal adviser Anisul Haque and Investigation Officer Mirja Jahidul Alam stayed in Canada to collect information about the corruption over the appointment of a supervising consultant for the Padma Bridge project.

The team was supposed to question Ramesh and former director (international projects) of SNC-Lavalin Mohammad Ismail and procure a copy of Ramesh Saha’s much-talked-about diary.

The diary is believed to have valuable information, including the names of those receiving payoffs from the Canadian engineering firm. The team, however, returned to Bangladesh emptyhanded.

On June 27, newly appointed ACC Chairman M Bodiuzzaman told journalists: “The commission team who went to Canada to collect information on Padma Bridge Project gathered very little information.”

“We expect that we will be able to gather more information after a case, which is under trial in a Canadian court, is settled. So, it will take time to complete the investigation into the Padma Bridge graft case.”

It has been learnt that the diary contains a list of receivers of 10-12% commissions for the Padma bridge project. In a manner that is quite revealing it says: “Padma PCC, 4% Min, 2% Kaiser, 2% Nixon, 1% Secretary and 1% Moshi Rahman.”

According to the document “Min” refers to former communication minister Syed Abul Hossain, “Kaiser” refers to former state minister for foreign affairs Abul Hasan Chowdhury and “Nixon” to the prime minister’s nephew Mujibur Rahman. “Secretary” is former Bridges Division secretary Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan while “Moshi Rahman” is the prime minister’s Economic Affairs Adviser Mashiur Rahman.

A 2% commission was set aside for someone whose name was not mentioned.

The ACC investigation team has reportedly completed the Bangladeshi part of the investigation and is waiting for the Canadian documents to do the rest.

On April 3, the ACC investigation team submitted a preliminary report on the allegations of corruption in appointing a consultant to supervise construction of the bridge.

On December 17, 2012, the ACC filed a case of “conspiracy for corruption in the Padma bridge project” against seven people, including former secretary Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, Bangladesh Bridge Authority Superintendent Engineer Kazi Mohammad Ferdous, Roads and Highways Executive Engineer Riaz Ahmad Jaber, Engineering Planners Consultant Ltd’s Deputy Managing Director Mohammad Mostafa, Director of International Projects at the SNC-Lavalin Mohammed Ismail, and the firm’s former vice-presidents Ramesh Saha and Kevin Wallace.

Among them, Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan and Kazi Mohammad Ferdous are now out on bail while Riaz Ahmad Jaber is in jail.

Names of the two former ministers – Syed Abul Hossain and Abul Hasan Chowdhury – were dropped from the list of the accused, but the ACC said they would be kept under observation and that their names could be added later if their involvement could be proved.

On June 29, 2011, the World Bank cancelled a pledged credit of $1.2bn for the construction of the 6.15km Padma Bridge after its inquiry team found “credible evidence of corruption” by high-level government functionaries in awarding the contract for project supervision to the SNC-Lavalin. 

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