This month, the World Bank Group announced the debarment of four companies involved in misconduct relating to projects in Bolivia, Bangladesh and Cambodia. The debarments were announced by the Sanctions Board following investigations by the World Bank’s Integrity Vice Presidency (INT).
In Bolivia, Empresa Constructora y Consultora LAPTUS S.R.L. and Ingenieria en Construcciónes Orleans (ICOR) were each debarred for a minimum of two years. Both debarments were based on an INT investigation that arose after being notified by the Project Implementation Units (PIUs) of possible fraud. INT’s evidence revealed that each company had submitted fraudulent performance securities during the bid process intended to provide financial security to the project in case of non-performance. As a result of delays in project implementation by ICOR, the PIU attempted to enforce the bid securities to cover its losses and discovered the securities were fraudulent. The case was also referred to the Bolivian prosecutor’s office for their subsequent action.
“The debarment of these companies under the same project gives a sense of what a high-risk operation can look like. More importantly, without the due diligence of the Project Implementation Unit, the World Bank investigators and national enforcement entities, this case could have resulted in huge losses of development resources,” said Leonard McCarthy, World Bank Integrity Vice President.
The World Bank Sanctions Board also debarred Globe Pharmaceuticals Ltd (Globe) for three years following evidence of fraud under the Bangladesh Health Sector Development Program. The company submitted false “prior experience” certificates in its bid to qualify for a World Bank-financed contract to supply Vitamin A capsules.
Finally, in Cambodia, Seng Enterprise Co., Ltd was debarred for a period of three years for engaging in corrupt practices. The company paid bribes to officials, on behalf of a consortium, in order to be awarded a World Bank-financed contract under the Rural Electrification and Transmission Project. Evidence also revealed the company had solicited funds from another consortium member firm to help pay for the bribes.
Under the terms of the above sanctions, all four companies must take appropriate remedial measures, adopt and implement an effective integrity compliance program consistent with the World Bank Integrity Compliance principles. During the debarment period, the companies are ineligible to be awarded contracts under any Bank Group-financed or Bank Group-executed project or otherwise participate in the preparation or implementation of such projects.
The debarment of these companies qualifies for cross-debarment by other multilateral development banks under the Agreement of Mutual Recognition of Debarments that was signed on April 9, 2010.