Two held in Bangladesh for graft in $3-bn bridge project

Dhaka, Dec 26 (IANS) Two suspects, including a former secretary of the Bangladesh government, were Wednesday arrested on charges of bribery in appointing a Canadian firm as consultant for a $3-billion bridge project.

Under the project, a 10-km bridge was to be built over the Padma river, one of the three biggest rivers in Bangladesh.

In June, the World Bank cancelled its $1.2 billion funding for the project, saying it had "credible evidence" about corruption among Bangladeshi government officials, executives from Canadian engineering firm SNC-Lavalin and private individuals in connection with the bridge project, Xinhua reported.

Former secretary of the bridges division Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan and superintending engineer of Bangladesh Bridge Authority Kazi Mohammad Ferdous were arrested Wednesday in Dhaka.

The arrests were made after the Anti-Corruption Commission filed a case in which four Bangladesh government officials including Hossain Bhuiyan and three officials of SNC Lavalin were accused.

Former communications minister Syed Abul Hossain and former state minister for foreign affairs Abul Hasan Chowdhury are also among the suspects.

Two SNC Lavalin officials are reportedly facing trial in a Canadian court on charges of bribing Bangladeshi government officials to get the $50 million consultancy job in the project.


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