DHAKA, Bangladesh – Bangladesh on Saturday (June 30th) called a World Bank decision to cancel a $1.2-billion loan to build the nation's biggest bridge "a bolt from the blue", according to AFP.
The development lender on Friday cancelled the loan for the Padma bridge project, saying the government had not co-operated in investigating "high-level" corruption in the project.
"The World Bank cannot, should not, and will not turn a blind eye to evidence of corruption," the World Bank said.
Bangladesh's Communications Minister Obaidul Quader told reporters the Washington-based bank had scrapped the credit deal at a time when the country's anti-graft agency was investigating the allegations. "It's like a bolt from the blue," he said.
The proposed 6.2-km, $3-billion bridge is aimed at transforming the country's impoverished southern region through better road and rail connections.
The loan was approved in February 2011, but allegations of corruption in the tender process led the bank to freeze the loan late last year.
The World Bank said it had provided evidence of corruption from two probes into the bridge case to Bangladesh's prime minister, finance minister and the Anti-Corruption Commission's chairman in September 2011 and April 2012.
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