World Bank Delays Padma Bridge Funding

A man crosses a bridge made of wood in Bangladesh. Photo by: Thomas Sennett / World Bank / CC BY-NC-ND

The World Bank has suspended the release of a $1.2 billion loan it promised for the construction of a river bridge in Bangladesh in light of corruption allegations faced by a firm participating in the project’s tender process, a senior Bangladeshi official has announced.

Some employees of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. are under investigation by Canadian authorities due to reports of possible corruption in connection to the $2.9 billion Padma River bridge construction project, Reuters says. The World Bank said it wants the issue resolved before providing the promised loan.

“The World Bank has cleared its position during the Washington meeting last week that it would not finance (the river project) until the issue was settled,” Bangladeshi Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith said, according to Reuters.

This is the first time the World Bank has suspended any promised funds for Bangladesh and local officials have expressed concern over the impact of the bank’s decision on the country’s relationships with other lenders.

In addition to the World Bank, the Padma River project is supported by the Asian Development Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Islamic Development Bank and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.