The World Bank Group debarred 78 firms and individuals during fiscal year 2018, according to its inaugural Sanctions System Annual Report, issued on Oct. 3.
The report is the result of efforts by the Integrity Vice Presidency (INT), the Office of Suspension and Debarment (OSD), and the Sanctions Board to prepare a joint overview of the Bank Group Sanctions System and its activities over the past year. In addition to the 78 debarments, five firms were sanctioned with conditional non-debarment, meaning that they remain eligible to participate in World Bank-financed projects but will be debarred if they do not meet certain agreed-upon conditions.
Each of the sanctions related to a finding that the firm or individual engaged in one of the institution’s five sanctionable practices—fraud, corruption, collusion, coercion, or obstruction—while participating in a Bank Group-funded project. The World Bank also recognized 73 cross-debarments from other multilateral development banks.
Over the course of the year, INT initiated 68 new investigations into allegations of misconduct in Bank Group-funded projects. INT also submitted 28 sanctions cases to the OSD as the first tier of the institution’s two-tiered administrative sanctions system. The OSD temporarily suspended 40 firms and individuals and issued sanctions against 24 that did not appeal their cases.
The Sanctions Board, the second tier of the system, issued sanctions against 20 firms and individuals that had appealed their cases. These sanctions were set out in fully reasoned, transparent decisions that offer guidance to the international community involved in anti-corruption and sanctions.
An additional 39 parties were sanctioned in connection with 22 settlement agreements. Each of these settlement agreements were cleared by the Bank Group general counsel and reviewed by OSD.
In addition to evaluating allegations of fraud and corruption, INT works to prevent corruption in ongoing Bank Group projects. INT staff identified and worked to mitigate integrity risks in 390 projects, steps that made progress in safeguarding the equivalent of $2.2 billion in project commitments. The team also trained approximately 1,650 people over the course of the year and provided advisory services in 28 countries.
Finally, INT’s Integrity Compliance Office (ICO), which works with sanctioned firms and individuals to institute reforms in alignment with the Bank Group’s Integrity Compliance Guidelines to reduce the possibilities for future misconduct, provided guidance to 80 parties. The ICO determined that 15 firms and individuals had met the conditions required to be released from sanction and are now eligible to participate in Bank Group-funded projects.