Abul claims innocence over graft allegation

Abul claims innocence over graft allegation
Syed Abul Hossain talking to journalists Monday

FE Report

Former communications minister Syed Abul Hossain claimed his innocence on Monday saying that he had no involvement in corruption nor any irregularities took place concerning the Padma bridge project.

“Those who talk about the possibility of corruption and irregularities in the Padma bridge project are mistaken and have a wrong perception,” he told journalists waiting outside the office of the Anti-Corruption Commission at Segunbagicha in the city after emerging from the ACC office, where he was quizzed.

Abul Hossain was called to the ACC office for interrogation for the second time over the allegation of corruption and irregularities in the process of selecting a supervision consultant for the US $ 2.9 billion infrastructure project.

“I am clear to my conscience, and to the Most Merciful Allah Rabbul Alamin. There was no corruption in the Padma bridge” Abul added.

A three-member ACC investigation team, led by one of its deputy directors Mir Md Zainul Abedin Shebly, quizzed the former minister for about two and a half hours starting from 9:50am.

Though the ACC refused to divulge details of the interrogation, Abul Hossain told the FE over phone that he was quizzed in connection with the supervision consultant selection process.

He, however, refused to give details about the questioning but said some of the questions were answered in the statement he gave to the media outside the ACC building.

The businessman-turned-politician criticised the media for what he called misguiding the people giving untrue information, especially the reports and articles about selection of a consultant.

“It was reported that someone made a transaction involving $35 million whereas the lowest bid for the supervision consultant appointment was worth $37 million. You can easily understand how untrue and absurd it was,” he said to the journalists.

He claimed that he worked with honesty, transparency, accountability, integrity, modesty and politeness.

“Honesty, transparency, accountability, integrity, modesty and politeness are the driving forces of my life. I want to lead the rest of my life with that strength,” Abul Hossain commented

Before getting into his car, he gave the media copies of his written statement.

He said, “Padma bridge, I myself and the government are victims of propaganda of a vested quarter,” he said alleging that the media propaganda created confusions among the mass people.

He also stated in the statement that as he had no involvement in the evaluation of any tender process, the World Bank’s apprehension about corruption in the Padma bridge project was simply an excuse.

In the three-page statement, the minister also pointed out that the World Bank would soon realise that it made a mistake by cancelling the loan agreement which delayed construction of the Padma bridge and damaged his own reputation.

The World Bank, the key lender of the coveted project, suspended its pledged $1.2 billion for the $2.9 billion project in September last year raising the graft allegations. It cancelled the promised loan on June 29 over no satisfactory action taken by the government in this regard.

A bdnews24.com report adds, an official of the anti-graft watchdog on Monday said it found no proof of corruption in appointing a consultant for the Padma bridge project in the agency’s initial investigation against former Communications Minister Syed Abul Hossain.

Mohammad Badiuzzaman, a Commissioner of the Anti-corruption Commission, made the statement as the commission completed its initial investigation into the allegation of corruption.

He said they would begin the next phase of investigation based on the report of the primary investigation.

“Our preliminary investigation ended with quizzing Syed Abul Hossain. Investigating officials will prepare a report and next steps will be taken based on that,” he said.

The report would be prepared ‘as soon as possible’, he added.

Responding to a query, Badiuzzaman said, “We haven’t found any proof yet about the allegations brought against him. However, legal steps will surely be taken against him if the next investigation finds anything.”

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