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WB panel's report on Padma issue likely by month end

DHAKA: World Bank's (WB) Country Director in Dhaka Ellen Goldstein Tuesday said the World Bank expert panel was expected to issue its report on the Padma Bridge issue by the end of the current month.
"I remain optimistic" about the World Bank financing of the Padma Bridge project, she said on the sidelines of a programme at the ICDDRB auditorium here as approached by newsmen on the Bank's latest position on the issue.

"Of course, it (the report) will become public," she added.

She said the three-member expert panel, which earlier visited Dhaka twice to review Bangladesh's Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) investigations into the alleged "graft plot" involving the project, was currently reviewing the First Information Report (FIR) against the suspects.

World Bank officials familiar with the process said the ACC provided the Bank with the original Bangla version of the FIR and a translated version of the copy was given to the panel for review.

Goldstein said after the submission of the report, the lead financer WB and co- financiers-Asian Development Bank, JICA and Islamic Development Bank will have to talk and take decision also.

"It is two-stage process-the panel of experts will submit report and then all lenders need to make their own decisions about the financing," she explained.

On June 29, 2012, the WB announced the cancellation of a $1.2 billion IDA credit for the Padma Multipurpose Bridge project and it announced its engagement anew in the Padma Multipurpose Bridge on September 20 under some conditions.

The External Panel of anti-corruption experts of the World Bank visited Dhaka twice -first in October and then in December last year to assess the progress of the Anti-Corruption Commission's (ACC) investigation into evidence of corruption under the Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project.

The three-member panel is chaired by Luis Moreno Ocampo, former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. The two other panel members are 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 Britain's Serious Fraud Office.

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Anika Devi received her Bachelor’s degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University in 2012. She began freelancing for Business Solutions BD in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. She currently serves as the assistant editor.
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