DHAKA, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- Bangladesh's anti-graft agency will accept World Bank's proposal for forming a panel to probe into the Padma bridge corruption allegations if the global lender first reach a consensus with the government on funding the mega project.
Ghulam Rahman, chairman of Bangladesh's Anti-Corruption Commission, made the remarks while replying to queries of journalists in capital Dhaka on forming a three-member panel comprising international experts to ensure a fair and transparent investigation into alleged graft in the 3 billion U.S. dollar project.
"Cooperation with them (the World Bank) in corruption investigation is beyond question if there is consensus between the government and the bank," he said, adding "We'll continue our investigation as usual."
The commission last month reportedly agreed with the proposal of the Washington-based lender of forming a panel comprising three- member of international experts to investigate the alleged corruption of the project.
The bank in June cancelled its funding for the project, saying it had "credible evidence corroborated by a variety of sources which points to a high-level corruption conspiracy among Bangladeshi government officials, (Canadian engineering firm) SNC- Lavalin executives and private individuals in connection with the Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project."
"In light of the inadequate response by the Bangladeshi government, the World Bank has decided to cancel its 1.2 billion U. S. dollars IDA credit in support of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge project, effective immediately," the bank said in a statement.
The Bangladeshi government announced that it would start construction work of the country's much-talked-about Padma Multipurpose Bridge without the fund support from the lender.
But the government in a major policy shift changed its stance in the last week of July while taking initiative to fulfill almost all the conditions of the bank to win its funding.
Going to comply with the bank's condition, Bangladesh's anti- graft body agreed to the lender's proposal for forming a panel to ensure a transparent and fair probe into the corruption allegations in the project.
The 10-km-long bridge will be built over Padma River, one of the three biggest rivers in Bangladesh. About 6.15 km of the bridge will be built over the river while the remaining part on both banks.
Apart from connecting nearly 30 million people in Bangladesh's southwestern region to the rest of the country, the bridge will enhance regional trade and collaboration along the Asian highway No. 1 and the Trans-Asian railway network systems.