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Will the World Bank eat humble pie?
Posted:Feb 23, 2017
 
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By Mohammad Badrul Ahsan
 
It was once a familiar refrain amongst the restaurant-goers in Dhaka that even if one didn'teat or drink anything in a restaurant, one could still end up paying twelve annas for breaking a drinking glass. That saying embodied concerns over the costliness of eating out and its incidental hazards, but eventually acquired a deeper meaning of life. It implies a Kafkaesque helplessness when one has to pay for something without partaking in any of its pleasures. Almost five years later, the Padma Bridge scandal looks like a throwback to that disturbing despair. Some people may have paid the price without doing anything significantly wrong.
 
Unless the World Bank knows something we don't. The bank now seems to be the sole custodian of a scandalous secret, dutifully guarding the entrance of truth like Anubis guards the entrance of the underworld in Egyptian myths. The global lender, for reasons best known to itself, seems to have taken an unbreakable vow of silence.
 
Meanwhile, others have spoken out loud. On February 10, a Toronto court acquitted three former officials of SNC-Lavalin, who were accused of planning to bribe Bangladeshi officials to secure a consultancy contract in the Padma Bridge project. This accusation formed the eye of a storm that forced a minister to resign, a secretary sent to jail, and the project director removed from his post. It also brought shame for us watching our country dragged through the mud.
 
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Daily Star, February 24, 2017
 
 
 
 
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