Bangladesh blacklists China Harbour Engineering for ‘bid to bribe secretary’

The Bangladesh government has blacklisted China Harbour Engineering Company Limited for trying to bribe a roads secretary, Finance Minister AMA Muhith has said.

“The firm offered Tk 5 million in bribes to the communication secretary. The secretary informed us about the matter. That’s why we’ve blacklisted it. It won’t be able to work anymore,” the minister told reporters at the Secretariat on Tuesday.    

The Chinese firm is one of the top companies in the global construction sector. It currently has operations in around 80 countries.

The government had signed a contract with the firm to develop the two-lane Dhaka-Sylhet Highway to a four-lane one and set up a service lane, among other projects it was awarded in the country.

Asked whether it would be able to finish the work it has already got in Bangladesh, Muhith said, “Let’s see. But normally, blacklisted means blacklisted.”

The minister also said the firm offered the bribe not to get any new job, but to ‘steal from ongoing projects’.

Muhith, however, did not name the secretary who had told them about the offer.

“I am proud of him,” the minister said.

On Monday, at a press briefing on the upcoming Bangladesh Development Forum 2018, Muhith said there were ‘some problems’ in the Dhaka-Sylhet Highway development project.

“China is not funding the project. So we will implement it with our own money,” he had said.

The government signed the deal on Oct 9, 2016 with China Harbour, the firm picked up by the Chinese government, for the Dhaka-Sylhet Highway development project.

The estimated cost of the project to develop a 226-kilometre stretch of the highway to a four-lane one was Tk 170 billion while the deadline to finish the work was 2018.