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Tuesday, January 28, 2015, Magh 15, 1421, Robi-Us-Sani 6, 1436 Hijr

Graft in 50 climate projects alleged
Steps after probe, says minister
Published : Wednesday, 28 January, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 92
Banani  Mallick
The Environment and Forest Minister, Anwar Hossain Manju, on Tuesday said that the government was investigating into allegations of corruption and irregularities in a number of projects on adaptation to climate change in the country.
"We have received allegations of irregularities. Upon investigations we will take appropriate steps against those responsible for the projects," he said.
There are corruption allegations against 50 projects on adaptation to climate change funded by the Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund (BCCTF).
Very recently an evaluation report prepared by the BCCTF, consisted of representatives of 14 ministries, discloses that among a total of 236 such projects about 50 have corruption allegations.
The BCCTF, after knowing it primarily stopped financial cooperation to 19 projects.
"Following specific allegations, already we have stopped funding to 19 projects working on adaptation to climate change," said the Minister.
His comment came when the World Bank has expressed its unwillingness in supervising Bangladesh Climate Change Resilience Fund (BCCRF) due to allegations of unfair practices.
The BCCRF was established with funds from developments partners (DPs), after the UK, European Union, Denmark, Australia, Sweden and Switzerland started funding it in 2009.
The minister said that they had withdrawn from this project (BCCRF) because of allegations relating to political pressure and corruption in selecting projects under the fund.
The DPs have also advised formation of a committee for fund management to ensure transparency.
Under the BCCRF agreement, the WB was supposed to supervise the fund till June 2016.
The Forest Minister said that in December last year the WB officials had informed the government that they would not supervise the BCCRF.
The government would take decisions in this regard upon a discussion with the DPs.
"But we are not worried, we have other development partners," the Minister observed.
Professor Dr. Abdullah Harun Chowdhury of the Department of Environmental Science at Khulna University said that the government must scrutinize the project proposals before selection.
 "Unfair practices should be not allowed, rather people those have experiences and skills should get involved in the process," he suggested.
Besides reporting, the government must have some monitoring and evaluation teams to supervise the projects, he said.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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