Padma Bridge probe: No headway in 13 months

UNB, Dhaka :
Although one year and a month has elapsed since the filing of the much-talked-about Padma Bridge corruption case, the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) could not yet complete its investigation into the graft allegation.
“The ACC has no relation with the trial of Canadian court. The Commission will continue its investigation, but it’s difficult to say when the investigation will complete,” ACC secretary Faizur Rahman Chowdhury told a monthly meeting of the anti-graft body at its media centre here on Monday.
Earlier, a case was filed with a court in Canada in connection with the Padma Bridge graft and its hearing continues there.
ACC representatives, including its legal adviser advocate Anisul Haque, now law minister, visited Canada twice in 2013 to be present at hearing and collect evidence.
About the Canada visit, Faizur Rahman Chowdhury said it was the public demand to send the ACC team to Canada to collect evidence so that the Padma graft case could be completed.  
“We couldn’t collect adequate evidence of graft. But we’re trying to collect information from the Canadian authorities,” he said.
On December 17, 2012, the ACC filed a case against seven people for their alleged involvement in the Padma Bridge project graft dropping the names of key suspects former Communications Minister Syed Abul Hossain and former State Minister for Foreign Affairs Abul Hasan Chowdhury.
The accused in the case are former secretary of Bridge Division Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, superintendent engineer (river control) of Bangladesh Bridge Authority Kazi M Ferdous, executing engineer (bridge construction and maintenance) of Roads and Highways Department M Riaz Ahmed Zaber, deputy managing director of Engineering and Planning Consultant Limited Mohammad Mustafa, former director (international project division) of SNC Lavalin Inc Mohammad Ismail, former vice president (international project division) of SNC Lavalin Ramesh Shah and former vice-president of SNC Lavalin Kevin Wallace.
SNC Lavalin is a Canadian consultancy firm, which participated in bidding process in getting work in the Padma Bridge project.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has already laid charges against the former State Minister Abul Hasan Chowdhury over the alleged corruption in the Padma Bridge project.
The RCMP also brought charges against Canadian citizen Zulfiquar Ali Bhuiyan and former vice president (international project division) of SNC Lavalin Kevin Wallace.