World Bulletin/News Desk
The former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court will lead a review of Bangladesh's investigation of alleged corruption tied to a major bridge project, the World Bank said late on Friday.
Luis Moreno Ocampo will head the three-member panel and deliver a report to the World Bank, one of several steps necessary for the Washington-based development institution to resume its $1.2 billion line of credit. Ocampo sought to prosecute individuals for crimes against humanity at the ICC, located in The Hague, Netherlands.
The World Bank canceled funding for the Padma River development in Bangladesh in June, saying it had "credible evidence" of high-level corruption among Bangladeshi government officials.
The Padma Multipurpose Bridge, at 4 miles (6.2 km) long, would be the longest water crossing in the country, linking the underdeveloped south with the capital Dhaka and the main port of Chittagong.
The bank said it would resume financing of the project once agreed measures with the government were implemented.
These include an outside panel of experts to assess the credibility of the government's investigation into allegations of corruption in the bridge project by the specially appointed Anti-Corruption Commission of Bangladesh (ACC).
Joining Ocampo on the panel are Timothy Tong, the former commissioner of the Independent Commission Against Corruption in Hong Kong, and Richard Alderman, former director of Britain's Serious Fraud Office.
A report of its findings will also go to the government.
Bangladesh, as agreed, put all officials suspected of involvement in the alleged corruption on leave until a full investigation is completed, the World Bank said previously.
The other measures agreed were the appointment of a special inquiry and prosecution team within the ACC to conduct the investigation; and the introduction of new procurement arrangements for the project, with more oversight and transparency to ensure clean construction of the bridge.
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said the development lender is committed to ensuring the Padma project is implemented with integrity.
"This panel creates a unique opportunity for the people of Bangladesh to raise the bar on transparency, public accountability and governance," Kim said in the statement.
Two former executives from Canadian engineering company SNC-Lavalin Group Inc, which bid to supervise the contractor on the bridge project, appeared in a Toronto court in July accused of bribing officials in Bangladesh.
Canada launched an investigation last year into allegations of corruption in the bridge bidding process after the World Bank brought the issue to their attention.
The ruble makes small gain Friday morning, but RTS index continues to contract
Norwegian energy company Statoil, which suspended 5 rigs in the last 2 months, granted $610 million for development of its gas fields
Putin earlier announced pipeline project via Bulgaria would be cancelled.
President Vladimir Putin said that Russia needed to take the opportunity to diversify its economy to protect it from external shocks.
Verdi said in a statement that workers at four of those centres had decided to continue their strike until Saturday and employees at the Graben warehouse would strike until Dec. 24.
Russia suffers as sanctions bite economy; will crisis make Ukraine conflict too costly?
EU to tighten sanctions on Crimea in time for leaders summit to send message to Russia
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries declined to cut production at a Nov. 27 meeting and, despite slumping prices, major Gulf OPEC members have since shown no sign of reversing course
Iran plans to export petrochemical products to Europe after one year of U.S.-led sanctions on its petchem market
Russia's central bank took drastic action to defend its rouble currency in a surprise midnight raising of interest rates by 650 basis points to 17 percent.
It argues that a major submarine ridge of the Arctic Ocean is an extension of its autonomous Greenland.
Russia is the second biggest exporter of illicit money, India is fourth, Brazil seventh and South Africa is 12th, according to the report.
Brent for January fell to a low of $60.28 a barrel in Asian trade, down $1.57 and its lowest since July 2009
Energy cooperation will be one of the topics on the agenda
Labour union Verdi said the strike had started at five of Amazon's nine distribution centres in Germany but added it would only know later in the day how many workers participated
Abdullah al-Badri said the oil price, which dropped to a succession of five-year lows in recent days, had fallen further than market fundamentals should have dictated