WASHINGTON, September 25, 2012—The World Bank today issued the following statement concerning the Padma bridge project in Bangladesh:
Media reports have quoted senior Bangladeshi government officials misrepresenting the World Bank’s position concerning the Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project. We feel obliged to issue the following clarifications:
The Bank has shared repeatedly with the Government of Bangladesh credible evidence of corruption involving senior public officials related to the financing of the Padma bridge. This led the World Bank to cancel the US$1.2 billion credit in the absence of a credible response by the government.
On September 20, 2012 the government agreed:
- 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; and
- 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.
The government requested the World Bank to consider again the financing of the Padma bridge.
The Bank remains concerned about corruption in Bangladesh in general and in the Padma bridge project in particular. It is for this reason that we have also made it clear that to engage anew in the project will require new implementation arrangements that give much greater oversight of project procurement processes to the Bank and co-financiers.
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 people of Bangladesh deserve a clean bridge. If we are to move ahead, we are insisting that a credible investigation is undertaken and any project implementation be done in a manner that ensures transparency and enhanced oversight.