FE Today Logo
Search date: 17-01-2018 Return to current date: Click here

BD to disqualify Chinese firm CHEC for bribery, says Muhith

He says the co got blacklisted for bribing officials

FE Report | January 17, 2018 00:00:00

Finance Minister AMA Muhith said Tuesday China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) will be barred from getting work in Bangladesh in future as it bribed some government officials here.

"No, they cannot," he said when his attention was drawn as to whether the Chinese firm will be allowed to get any other contract in Bangladesh after the alleged malpractice over a highway project.

The minister was talking to newsmen after a meeting with visiting World Bank vice-president for the South Asia region Annette Dixon at his secretariat office.

Mr Muhith asserted that normal rule is "blacklisted means blacklisted".

He said: "Let's see what can be done (with the works they already been awarded)."

Replying to another query the minister said CHEC had paid the bribe to the then Road Transport and Highways Division secretary to buy favour. "I think they wanted to keep him pleased. They wanted to misappropriate (money) in works."

The minister mentioned the Chinese contractor paid Tk 5.0 million to the secretary as bribe about which he informed the government high-ups. Later, the money was given back to the Chinese embassy in Dhaka.

The CHEC was awarded job for upgrading Dhaka-Sylhet Highway into four-lane one. Due to the scam, now the government blacklisted the CHEC and decided to fund the 226-kilometre Dhaka-Sylhet four-lane works from its own coffers.

During the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Bangladesh in 2016, the two nations signed a memorandum of understanding under which Beijing was supposed to finance US$1.6 billion for the Dhaka-Sylhet four-lane project.

To carry out the task, the Chinese government also selected CHEC. Recently, the firm and the Roads and Highways Department of Bangladesh had started negotiation to sign a commercial contract in this regard.

About his meeting with World Bank's Annette Dixon, the finance minister said they talked on ongoing World Bank-funded programmes in Bangladesh.

Meanwhile, Ms Dixon, replying to press query, said she discussed progress on World Bank- supported programmes as well as situation of Rohingya people sheltered in Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar frontier district.

Replying to a query she said the World Bank has actually been increasing support to Bangladesh. "We are providing in current three-year period in the order of $4.4 billion which is a significant increase and Bangladesh is absorbing the support from the World Bank very efficiently," she said.

Ms Dixon also said in the last six years Bangladesh had enhanced its project-implementation capacity.

[email protected]

Share if you like