The World Bank said Thursday that it could reconsider its decision to cancel a $1.2 billion loan to Bangladesh for a major road and rail bridge, but only if authorities keep pledges to fight corruption.
In late June, the Washington-based lender cancelled its planned financing for the $3 billion Padma bridge project, saying the government in Dhaka had not cooperated in investigating "high-level" corruption in the project.
In a statement issued Thursday, the bank said Dhaka "took actions necessary" to address its concerns about corruption, including putting all officials acced of graft on administrative leave and opening a "full and fair" probe.
But the World Bank said Bangladesh had to go further to re-secure World Bank support, and th had "agreed to a series of measures as a pre-requisite for any renewed implementation" of the project.
Those measures include "new procurement arrangements with enhanced oversight, to ensure transparency and clean construction of the bridge," and "investigations proceeding in a full, fair, and expeditio manner."
The bank also asked that "an independent external panel to review the government's investigation."
"The bank has agreed that, upon satisfactory implementation of the agreed measures by the government, and with the support of the bank's governing bodies, the bank will engage anew in the Padma Multipurpose Bridge," it said.
The proposed 6.2-kilometer (3.8-mile) bridge over the Padma river -- the local name for the Ganges -- will connect the capital Dhaka to the country's coastal districts.
The bridge, designed to carry a highway and rail line, is aimed at transforming the country's impoverished south. Traffic currently moves across the river by slow ferries.
The World Bank's cancellation of the loan embarrassed Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as the construction of the bridge was one of her key election pledges.