Resignation of a minister of Bangladesh government and World Bank

Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith said although no prove of corruption was found against former communications minister Abul Hossain he submitted his resignation in order to meet the conditions of World Bank.

l by Swadesh Roy

(25 July, 2012, Dhaka, Sri Lanka Guardian) Last 29th June, World Bank has canceled the loan agreement of Padma Bridge project of Bangladesh. This is a 3 billion dollar project where World Bank, Asian development Bank (ADB), Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and Japan are the donors. World Bank took the lead position in this project by the acceptance of committing a loan of 1.2 billion dollars to Bangladesh. In 2010, World Bank took the final decision that, they will give this loan to this project.

It was good news for both Bangladesh and the South Asian economy because this bridge will be a connective factor for this region. So after finalizing this decision, Bangladesh has started the work of Padma Bridge project with full swing. It invests almost 1500 core taka from its own fund and everything was done under the concern of the donor agencies of the project. But, in the middle of 2011, World Bank brought allegation of corruption in this project. They said that, Lavalin, a Canadian company went to give bribe to the minister of the communication and the secretary of the communication and the project director of that project. After that allegation, World Bank wanted that, Bangladesh Government would remove them from their positions. But Bangladesh government has not done it initially. To some extent, Bangladesh government wanted to ignore it. World Bank reminded them further, and told that, it would be impossible for them to continue their help to this project.

However, government of Bangladesh then took some measures. They transferred the minister from communication to information technology. And they transferred the secretary of this ministry and the project director. But World Bank was not satisfied from these actions. On the other hand the Canadian police started to investigate about the corruption of their construction farm Lavalin and after the investigation they sent the papers of the investigation to the World Bank. After getting this paper World Bank sent it to the Bangladesh government and Bangladesh Government gave it to their anti corruption bureau (ACC). The ACC of Bangladesh started to investigate it. Still World Bank was not happy by actions taken from Bangladesh Government. Their opinion was that, the investigation of ACC would not be accurate because the accused persons were still in the cabinet and the secretariat. So, their demand was that, they had to be removed from their position. Bangladesh government tried to convince that, ‘How will they remove them from the government before they are proven guilty in corruption’. But the opinion of World Bank was that, they would influence the investigation.

In that situation, World Bank canceled their loan agreement on 29th June. It was a bolt from the blue for Bangladesh. The government reacted first in fury. But after a while they understood that, it was not the right way for them. So they started a negotiation with the World Bank through other donor agencies. According to their suggestions, Government of Bangladesh has taken some bold decisions. The previous minister of communication, who was accused by the World Bank, Abul Hossien has resigned. On the other hand government has dismissed the project director and secretary was sent to the leave by the government.

The finance minister of Bangladesh, Abul Mal Abdul Muhith has expressed his opinion that, now Bangladesh can be reached a settlement with the World Bank and Padma Bridge project may start within a month.

Swadesh Roy, Executive Editor, The Daily Janakantha, Dhaka, Bangladesh, he can be reached at