Verdict highlights the World Bank’s commitment to pursuing national enforcement action on referrals based on its investigations
WASHINGTON, July 22, 2011--The World Bank welcomes the prosecutorial action taken by Økokrim, the Norwegian National Authority for the Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime, against three former employees of the Norwegian engineering consulting firm “Norconsult,” following a referral from the World Bank’s Integrity Vice-Presidency (INT).
The three former employees were convicted of bribery in connection with the Dar es Salaam Water Supply and Sanitation Project, a World Bank-financed project in Tanzania. The sentence was pronounced on July 15, 2011, and one of the convicted persons has been sentenced to jail.
“The success of this case sends a clear signal that the World Bank remains committed to supporting national authorities’ efforts to fully prosecute wrongdoers whose actions undermine development projects,” said Leonard McCarthy, World Bank Integrity Vice President. “We are currently pursuing dialogue with several other national authorities to which we have referred similar cases and expect them to take similar action.”
Over the past several years, INT has referred investigative findings to national authorities in numerous jurisdictions, including Albania, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, the United Kingdom and others. In April 2011, INT submitted its referrals on the case of the Italian Company “Lotti” to Indonesian and Italian authorities. In the same month, the Indonesian authorities arrested the former Head of Lotti’s representative office in Indonesia, and named two government officials as suspects in the case. Since 2010, the World Bank has made public its list of referrals to national authorities, which includes more than 150 referrals.
“INT referrals represent an important input to the fight against corruption. As with the Norwegians, we appreciate our close working relationship with British authorities. We are also monitoring action by Bangladeshi authorities on four cases where criminal proceedings against wrongdoers are warranted,” said McCarthy. “In the United States, we are encouraged by the depth of our collaboration with investigative bodies and are looking at ways to replicate this goodwill in other areas. Such level of commitment by national authorities speaks directly to the critical question of how best to manage projects in countries where patterns of misconduct prevail, and where there is a failure to take criminal action to counter corruption. Our efforts to support prosecutions by national authorities have seen fluctuating progress, but we are pressing ahead even where we have experienced disappointing reactions by some authorities.”
Complementing its work with national authorities, INT is preparing to launch a Global Threat Assessment in cooperation with the International Criminal Court, Interpol, the UK Serious Fraud Office and the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).
“What we are trying to do here is examine the key intersections between corruption risk, organized crime and money laundering on the one hand and the institutional vulnerability in developing countries on the other,” said McCarthy. “This work will be a critical input to the governance and anticorruption work that the World Bank is focusing on in the post-crisis world.”
About The World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency (INT)
The World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency (INT) is responsible for investigating allegations of fraud, collusion and corruption in World Bank projects, capitalizing on the experience of a multilingual and highly specialized team of investigators and forensic accountants. INT’s recent work included:
- 117 investigations in FY10, with 45 debarments of firms and individuals for engaging in wrongdoing
- 32 referrals of investigative information to governments and anticorruption agencies, based on completed INT investigations, for follow-up national action
- A cross-debarment agreement among the Multilateral Development Banks, so that companies debarred by the Bank Group can no longer seek business from other multilateral development banks (MDBs), closing a loophole in multilateral development programs
- An International Corruption Hunters Alliance bringing together 250 senior officials from 134 countries, to inject momentum into global anti-corruption efforts
- Cooperation agreements in support of parallel investigations, asset recovery and information sharing with the UK Serious Fraud Office, the European Anti-Fraud Office, the International Criminal Court, USAID, and the Australian Agency for International Development.
- High-profile debarments in the past two years, including UK publisher Macmillan Limited and Siemens OO (Russian subsidiary). As part of the settlement with the World Bank, Siemens AG agreed to pay $100 million to support the global fight against corruption.
- Enhanced preventive training in FY10, INT staff trained nearly 1,200 people in preventive activities such as identifying red flags in procurement and managing integrity risks in development projects.
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