Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– A World Bank vice president is scheduled to arrive in the capital Dhaka on Saturday to alert the government for ensuring transparency in the Padma Bridge project, officials said.
World Bank (WB) Vice President Ms. Isabel Guerrero would arrive in Dhaka on Saturday on an urgent visit to discuss with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina the latest developments in the Padma Bridge scheme, Finance Ministry officials said
“The Vice President will discuss the Padma Bridge issue with the Prime Minister. She will ask the premier to ensure transparency in the US$ 2.9 billion project,” a World Bank official was quoted by the Financial Express (FE), a local newspaper, as saying.
Ms. Guerrero will meet Sheikh Hasina Sunday evening before leaving Dhaka on the night.
Since the Padma Bridge is a multi-billion-dollar scheme, it should have the highest transparency during implementation, as the WB wants to ensure maximum utilisation of its $1.2 billion credit, the official added.
The WB has recently launched an investigation into an alleged corruption in the bidding process of the proposed Padma Bridge project.
As per request of the WB headquarters, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) raided the offices of Canadian engineering firm SNC-Lavalin (TSX:SNC) near Toronto to probe the alleged offence.
SNC-Lavalin (TSX:SNC) is among the primarily selected companies, which were vying for the supervision job for the US$ 2.9 billion multipurpose bridge over the river Padma, Bangladesh Bridge Division officials said.
The WB signed a deal in April with the government to extend $1.2 billion funds for the $2.9 billion bridge project.
The WB Dhaka office said following the reference of the WB’s Independent Evaluation Group, the Canadian police has been searching employees and offices of the SNC-Lavalin (TSX:SNC) in Toronto to probe the alleged fraud.
It said disbursement of its committed $1.2 billion in funds for the Padma Bridge project has not yet been authorised pending investigations by the Independent Evaluation Group, which is responsible for probing allegations of fraud and corruption in the bidding processes under the Bank financed operations, the newspaper reported.
The Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA), the executing agency of the Padma Bridge, has already completed all evaluations to shortlist bidders for five categories of works including bridge construction, and that of its supervision contractor.
The government has undertaken the $2.9 billion project to build the country’s east-west connecting 6.15 kilometre bridge across the river Padma, where the WB will provide $1.2 billion in funds.
BBN/SSR/AD-10Sept11-12:27 pm (BST)