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World Bank restates fight against corruption, sanctions 35 firms, individuals

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) In a bid to intensify efforts to advance the fight against corruption in its development projects, the World Bank Group says it sanctioned 35 firms and individuals in 2022.

This is according to the World Bank Group Sanctions Annual Report for 2022 released on its website, a copy of which was obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja

It said out of the 35 sanctioned firms and individuals, 32 were debarred with conditional release, making them ineligible to participate in projects and operations financed by the institutions of the World Bank Group.

The statement said three firms were sanctioned with conditional non-debarment, leaving them eligible, as long as they continued to meet certain agreed conditions while under sanction.

It said the institution also recognised 72 cross-debarments from other Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs), while 30 World Bank Group debarments were eligible for recognition by other MDBs.

According to the World Bank, its sanctions system is resolute in maintaining its anti-corruption oversight on development financing.

It said this was made possible by the joint report of the World Bank Group’s Integrity Vice Presidency (INT), Office of Suspension and Debarment (OSD), and Sanctions Board.

“This illustrates how in a time of increasingly complex global challenges and historic development support by the World Bank Group, the institution’s sanctions system was resolute in maintaining its anti-corruption oversight of the institution’s development financing.’’

It said INT is the independent unit within the World Bank Group that works to detect, deter, and prevent fraud and corruption in World Bank Group-financed operations and by the bank’s staff and corporate vendors.

It said OSD was tasked with impartially reviewing whether there was sufficient evidence that an entity investigated by INT had engaged in sanctionable misconduct and if so, determining an appropriate sanction.

The statement also said the Sanctions Board was an independent administrative tribunal that served as the second and final tier of review for contested sanctions cases.

“Together, the offices of the sanctions system play a critical role in helping the World Bank Group safeguard the resources it deploys from the damaging impacts that fraud and corruption can have on development.’’

The statement said in the report, World Bank Group President David Malpass was quoted as saying “our institution continues to provide historic levels of support around the world’’.

“It remains critical that these funds are used in a transparent and accountable manner and only for their intended purposes.

“We must be continually vigilant against corruption in the projects supported by the Bank Group.

“The offices that comprise the sanctions system work together to send a clear message: corruption has no place in development.”

According to the statement, a full list of the firms and individuals currently debarred by the World Bank Group can be found at: www.worldbank.org/debarr. (NAN)

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