PM hints at Yunus hand in WB pullout
Mon, Jul 16th, 2012 10:36 pm BdST
Dhaka, July 16 (bdnews24.com)—Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday said Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus may have 'influenced' the World Bank's decision to pull out from the proposed Padma bridge project.
This is the first time the Prime Minister dropped the broad hint even though leaders of her Awami League party have been blaming the former Grameen Bank Managing Director for the World Bank's cancellation of a $ 1.2 billion loan contract for the $ 2.9 billion project.
"I had heard that the World Bank will cancel its funding for a certain person, the Managing Director of a bank," Hasina said at a meeting of the ruling Awami League's Central Working Committee at her official residence Ganobhaban in the evening.
"Many people had said that to me," she added.
The government removed Yunus from the position for being overaged. The United States that chooses the World Bank President slammed the decision openly and warned that the decision may have an 'impact' on bilateral relations between the two countries.
The incident was widely covered in the Western media and London-based The Economist and other media outlets ran articles criticising the decision.
Hasina said the government spent over Tk 10.5 billion on acquiring land for the bridge construction "There is no corruption where the money has been spent. There is corruption where no money was spent," she said, referring to the government position that the international donors had not released any money for the project.
"The World Bank had wished to hand a particular company the consultancy job. Why did they do it? Isn't it corruption?" she asked.
Regarding reports that names of some people were found in the diary recovered from the possession of arrested officials of Canadian engineering firm SNC Lavalin, she said, "The names were handwritten. Was somebody made to write them down?"
"I question its credibility," said the Prime Minister.
Hasina said the World Bank was 'very powerful'. "They can do many things. Technology has greatly developed. They can have a lot of things said by a lot of people."
"When I am confident I was not involved in any illegal activities, why should I bow my head? But we will not spare anybody if they try to do anything using our names," she added.
"We will eat what is Halal, not what is Haram," Hasina continued. "We will start with construction of Padma bridge. We have arranged money to spend this year.
"We have decided what will be done when. Those involved in corruption in getting the consultancy job would be left out. We will float fresh tender, if necessary.
"People of Bangladesh know how to walk with their heads high. We have liberated our country through a war. Wouldn't we be able to build a simple bridge?
"If necessary, we will do physical labour.
"We have taken the decision, we would not be rude to anyone. Our country is independent, we will protect our sovereignty."