The World Bank Group's ("Bank") Integrity Vice
Presidency ("INT") is an independent unit within the Bank
charged with investigating five types of misconduct—fraud,
corruption, collusion, coercion, and obstruction—related to
bank-financed projects. To date, INT, which began operating in
1999, has investigated and closed almost 3,000 cases.
In FY2013 (ending June 30), INT evaluated 449 complaints from 90
countries and opened 89 as new cases, some of which are ongoing.
The top three regions with the highest number of new cases were
Africa, South Asia, and East Asia Pacific, respectively.
Agriculture, healthcare, transport, and water were the most
commonly targeted sectors.
INT has five administrative sanctions at its disposal: public
letter of reprimand; debarment; conditional non-debarment;
debarment with conditional release; and, restitution. In FY2013,
however, INT imposed only debarments and conditional nondebarments
on sanctioned entities. In total, INT debarred 44 entities in
FY2013, with all of the matters involving fraudulent or collusive
practices. The periods of debarment, during which the respondents
are ineligible to be awarded contracts from the Bank, range from
one year to 10 years. INT imposed conditional nondebarments on
three entities, requiring them to meet certain conditions to avoid
debarment on future projects.
As evidence of its increased commitment to cooperating with
other regulatory agencies, INT referred 19 cases to national
authorities in FY2013 to investigate allegations of misconduct.
Additionally, under the Agreement on Mutual Enforcement of
Debarment Decisions, signed in 2010 by the World Bank, African
Development Bank Group, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for
Reconstruction and Development, and Inter-American Development
Bank, INT jointly recognized the debarment of 295 entities.
On the technological front, in an effort to expand its
"open data universe," INT released a World Bank Integrity
Application ("app") for mobile devices in FY2013. This
app allows users to report confidential allegations of fraud or
corruption in bank-financed projects, and to attach an image or
record the location of the complaint through an optional GPS
The Bank appears dedicated to continuing its enforcement efforts
in 2014. As noted above, these actions can have serious effects on
Debarment may affect a company's subsidiaries and affiliates
or create potential breaches of contractual relationships.
Additionally, when a company enters into a settlement agreement
with the Bank, that agreement may affect the company's ability
to negotiate similar settlement agreements with other enforcement
regulators. Companies subject to Bank regulations should consider
these consequences when faced with potential enforcement action by
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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