Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has submitted a charge-sheet against former state minister of Bangladesh, Abul Hasan Chowdhury, in the Padma bridge graft scam, a report reaching Dhaka said yesterday.
The Canadian police submitted charges against Chowdhury and businessman Julfikar Ali Bhuiyan on September 26, according to the
media office of RCMP.
Early this year, the World Bank banned Canadian engineering firm SNC-Lavalin and scores of its subsidiaries from bidding on any of the Bank’s development projects for the next decade, after SNC-Lavalin admitted that it conspired to bribe several Bangladeshi public officials in an effort to secure a $50mn bridge contract.
The Bangladesh’s Anti-Corruption Commission’s (ACC) investigation has found involvement of former minister Chowdhury and Bangladeshi-origin Canadian businessman Bhuiyan in the Padma bridge corruption conspiracy, its
The ACC probe found the link after both Chowdhury and Bhuiyan had been charged with corruption in Canada by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The commission’s four-member investigation team led by its deputy director Abdullah al-Jahid also found the accused in its ‘corruption conspiracy’ case – bridges division secretary Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, Engineering Planners Consultant deputy managing director Mohammad Mostafa, Canadian construction firm SNC-Lavalin’s former officials Mohammed Ismail, Ramesh Shah and Kevin Wallace – had ‘more involvement’ in the scam than previously suspected.
The ACC probe findings said that Chowdhury had acted as a ‘broker’ to help SNC-Lavalin win the Padma bridge project consultancy.
At the request of his relative M Ziaul Haque, the former minister visited the bridge division office along with SNC-Lavalin’s local agent, Mostafa for the first time at the initial stage of the tender process, the ACC
Chowdhury also introduced Haque and Mostafa to former communications minister Syed Abul Hossain during his first visit to the bridge division office, the ACC findings said.
Later, in May 2011, when tender evaluation for appointment of the Bridge project consultant was at almost final stage, the then SNC-Lavalin vice-presidents Ramesh Shah and Kevin Wallace came to Bangladesh. Abul Hasan visited the bridge division office along with Ramesh Shah, Kevin Wallace, Zulfiquar Ali, Mostafa, Stuart Davies and Faruk Chowdhury for the second time and introduced all of them to Syed Abul Hossain in presence of Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, ACC
On the next day after the meeting with Abul Hossain and discussion with Kevin Wallace at the lobby of Westin hotel at Gulshan in the capital Dhaka, SNC-Lavalin vice president Ramesh Shah put in his note book the percentage of the ‘commission’ to be paid to the Bangladesh government officials, the ACC
The ACC findings said that Julfikar Ali Bhuiyan, having businesses both in Canada and Bangladesh, was the owner of Serve Canada, a Canada-based business firm, and also Uranus Apparels in Bangladesh.
Chowdhury introduced the businessman to Mostafa as his (Chowdhury) cousin.
Chowdhury also demanded 1.25% of the total amount of the contract money from Mostafa for the businessman, the ACC investigation found.
ACC secretary M Faizur Rahman Chowdhury said that the probe team was collecting concrete evidence against the
“We are trying to collect documents from the Canadian government. If they provide us with the Padma bridge probe-related documents, the ACC will take legal action against all the people involved,” he said.
The commission on December 17 had filed a case of ‘conspiracy for corruption in the Padma bridge project’ against seven people, including three Canadians, dropping former communications minister Syed Abul Hossain and former state minister for foreign affairs Chowdhury from its list of
On September 18, the RCMP framed charges under Canada’s Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act against Kevin Wallace, Ali and Chowdhury.