Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s son on Saturday accused the World Bank of having attempted to “discredit” his mother by levelling graft allegations in awarding contract of an ambitious bridge project, saying the global lender had “fabricated evidence”.
Sajeeb Wazed Joy said those who raised allegations of graft in awarding contracts for the Padma Bridge project should apologise to the government after a Canadian court debunked graft allegations in the case, bdnews24.com reported.
Joy, also the Prime Minister’s Information and Communication Technology adviser, blamed the World Bank for raising a controversy over graft and bribery in the Padma Bridge project, the report said.
“The evidence was fabricated by the World Bank. I had seen the evidence myself during the whole episode. It was quite clearly made up as there were no concrete details, just one anonymous source who was never revealed, even to the Canadian court.
“The World Bank came up with this plot against my mother, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government in an attempt to discredit her,” he wrote in a Facebook post.
Hasina had said that the graft-bribery allegations were aimed at undermining the image of her government and that some Bangladeshis were also involved with it.
She had alleged that Nobel Laureate Mohammed Yunus had tried to influence then US secretary of state to cut off World Bank funding for the Padma Bridge, the report said.
Joy hit out at “a section of our civil society” who had joined the World Bank in raising the stink over alleged graft.
“They dragged the reputation of several highly respected, qualified and hardworking people through the mud...” the report said.
The Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) had earlier said it had found no truth to the allegations of graft but filed a case after reports of Canadian consultants SNC Lavalin’s alleged bribery attempts to win contracts in the project.
Five years after the case was filed, a Canadian court dismissed the allegations raised by the World Bank against SNC Lavalin as “unfounded”.
Leading Canadian daily “Globe & Mail” reported that the judge had dismissed the allegations filed by the prosecution based on wiretaps and phone intercepts as ‘rumours’.