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PRESS RELEASE

Padma Bridge Project: World Bank Announces External Panel of International Experts

October 5, 2012

Washington - The World Bank Group today announced the appointment of members of the External Panel of International Experts that will review and assess the investigation by the Anti-Corruption Commission of Bangladesh (ACC) in allegations of corruption in the Padma Multipurpose Bridge project. The three-member panel is chaired by Luis Moreno Ocampo, former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and includes Timothy Tong, former commissioner of the Independent Commission Against Corruption, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, People’s Republic of China, and Richard Alderman, former director of the UK Serious Fraud Office.

I welcome the panel and look forward to their findings on the status and progress made by the Anti-Corruption Commission of Bangladesh in their investigation,” said Jim Yong Kim, World Bank Group president. The Padma project is a very significant investment for the people of Bangladesh and we remain committed to ensuring the integrity of its implementation. This panel creates a unique opportunity for the people of Bangladesh to raise the bar on transparency, public accountability and governance.

The announcement of the panel follows the request made by the government of Bangladesh to the World Bank to consider the financing of the Padma Bridge and the follow-up statement on Sept. 20, 2012, including the measures agreed to with the government of Bangladesh:

  • To place all public officials suspected of involvement in the corruption scheme on leave from government employment until an investigation is complete;
  • To appoint a special inquiry and prosecution team within the ACC to handle the investigation;
  • To grant access to all investigative information to an external panel of internationally recognized experts who will advise the Bank and co-financiers on the credibility of the government’s investigations; and
  • To accept an alternative project implementation arrangement which gave co-financiers greater oversight over procurement processes.

It is only after satisfactory implementation of all these measures as well as a positive report from the external panel of internationally recognized experts that the World Bank will go ahead with the financing of the project.

"The government of Bangladesh has been informed and we will rely on its cooperation to support panel members in determining the completeness, transparency, and fairness of the ACC investigation,” said Dr. Kim.

The panel will submit its reports to the World Bank and its findings will be shared with the government of Bangladesh.