Padma Bridge: No more denial syndrome, no brinkmanship – take stern action against corruption
Dhaka, 21 September 2012. In the context of the World Bank decision to revive its loan agreement with the Government of Bangladesh for the Padma Bridge, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) called upon the Government to take the correct lesson out of the experience so that it doesn’t face any recurrence of such self-embarrassment in the days to come.
In a statement issued today, Dr. Iftekharuzzaman, Executive Director of TIB said, “the World Bank decision may be viewed at the moment as a diplomatic gain for the Government. However, taking the proper lesson out of the whole episode, it must firmly abandon the denial syndrome of rejecting allegations of corruption and take these seriously to ensure due investigation free from any bias or influence so that exemplary action is taken against those found guilty without any fear or favour. Failing this, a possible sense of satisfaction in the corridors of the Government can be short-lived”.
The Government’s failure to act promptly as soon as allegation of corruption was brought has not only undermined its own credibility, but also led to the possibility of depriving the people of the country of a highly important development opportunity, he said.
The Government needs to be aware that there is no reason to believe that the World Bank’s decision to come back will by itself help regain the trust of the people of the country about the Government’s respect to its own electoral pledge against corruption, the statement said.
To achieve that, the Government must ensure strong and faultless measures to prevent all forms illicit act and conflict of interest, particularly collusive corruption involving people in positions of power. Stern actions must be taken not only with respect to allegations of corruption in Padma Bridge and its new phase, but also in case of other high profile corruption cases like the stock market, Destiny, Hall Mark & Sonali Bank and the vast range other allegations of abuse of power, Iftekharuzzaman said.
The Government cannot ignore that frustration due to a deepening culture of impunity is no more limited to people outside the government but also a lot of those within, he added.
Due to the brinkmanship that the Government has taken recourse to in the whole process has also weakened its bargaining position against the World Bank which may further affect the degree of flexibility and independence in the decision-making process, for which it is all the more indispensable that the Government demonstrates unqualified political commitment against corruption consistent with its electoral pledge, the statement said.