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Padma Bridge and World Bank

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Recently The World Bank (WB) has temporarily stopped their $1.2 billion credit to Bangladesh for the Padma Multipurpose Bridge project due to the allegation of corruption against the Communications Minister Syed Abul Hossain and irregularities in the selection of a Canadian Consulting Firm named SNC-Lavalin as Construction Supervision Consultant (CSC). The allegations were lodged by CRCC-Venture International and some other non-qualified firms. According to the newspapers WB has mainly two allegations:

1.Communication minister's Company SAHCO International's senior officers gave a proposal to some of the construction companies which were competing in the main bridge contract. The proposal was to appoint SAHCO International as a silent agent. Then SAHCO will work for the Company to get the contract.

2.SNC-Lavalin Group of Canada might have bribed the top people in the Ministry of Communications for getting selected in the bidding process of the Construction Supervision Consultant. World Bank complaint contains allegations against the minister for communications.

Regarding this matter WB talked to 12 people from 4 countries. Then in 21st September 2011, they gave a letter to the Finance Minister AMA Muhith which contains these allegations regarding the project. They also told the Finance Minister that they wouldn't release the credit unless these allegations were resolved. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) already dispatched a letter to WB to clarify the allegations and started investigation.

For this workshop when we started some research something else came up. In April 11 2010, Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) first called tender for appointing Main Bridge Consultant. In July 20 2010, BBA Pre-Qualified 5 companies and sent to WB for approval. In October 10 2010, WB told BBA that they had changed some criteria for appointing contractors, so BBA had to retender.

According to WB's guidelines BBA called for retender in October 11 2010, and their Tender Evaluation Committee (TEC) selected the same 5 Companies which they selected earlier. The members of the Tender Evaluation Committee are:

1. Professor Dr. Jamilur Reza Chowdhury- Convener

2. Professor Dr. Ainun Nishat, VC, Brac University - Member

3. Dr. Shafiullah, former VC, BUET- Member

4. Project Director, BBA- Member

5. Chief Engineer, BBA- Member

6. Assistant Chief Engineer, LGED- Member

7. Superintended Engineer (River training), Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project- Member Secretary

8. Superintended Engineer (Roads & Bridge), Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project- Member

BBA sent the list of the 5 companies to WB in January 7, 2011 for approval. Those 5 companies were:

1. Samsung C&T Corporation of South Korea.

2. China major Bridge Engineering Company Ltd.

3. Daelim-Bam-VCI (a joint venture entity of South Korea)

4. Vinci-HCC (a joint venture France & India)

5. China Communications Construction Company Ltd.

* In March 29, 2011 WB requested through their e-mail to prequalify China Railway Construction Company (CRCC). After that TEC reevaluated the papers of CRCC and reported that it couldn't be included in the Pre-Qualification (PQ) list. In March 30 2011, BBA informed WB about the report.

* In April 6 2011, WB

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