The World Bank Group, last week debarred the UK Company, “The Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administration Limited” and its affiliates for a period of six months for a fraudulent practice in 2006 in relation to a World Bank-executed project.
The debarment on Wednesday resulted from the World Bank's Integrity Vice Presidency's (INT) investigation, which revealed that the company misrepresented the availability of a key consultant to work on a contract awarded under the project.
The action is part of a negotiated resolution agreement which will be imposed on the company and 23 of its affiliates, which include Crown Agents Ghana Limited.
“The World Bank is committed to ensuring that scarce development resources are used for their intended purposes,” said Leonard McCarthy, World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency. “When we find fraudulent conduct, we will hold the wrongdoer accountable and work to ensure greater integrity and compliance going forward.”
The other affiliates affected are: Greenshields, Cowie & Co. Ltd., Four Millbank Nominees Ltd., Four Millbank Holdings Ltd., Crown Agents Services Ltd., Great Peter Nominees Ltd., Crown Agents Services (India) Pvt Ltd., Crown Agents (India) Pvt Ltd., Crown Agents Investment Management Ltd., Crown Agents Bank Ltd., Greenshields Cowie (U.S.A.) Inc., Crown Agents International Ltd., Crown Agents SA (Proprietary) Ltd., Crown Agents Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd., Crown Agents Southern Africa Consulting Services (Pvt) Ltd., Crown Agents Kenya Limited, Crown Agents Uganda Limited, Crown Agents Mozambique LDA, Crown Agents Services (Tanzania) Limited, Crown Agents USA, Inc., Crown Agents Mongolia LLC (Subsidiary of Crown Agents USA, Inc), JCF Nominees Limited, and Crown Agents Nigeria Ltd.
According to a World Bank release announcing the debarment, additionally, “the company will be required to review and, if necessary, revamp its corporate integrity compliance and ethics programme in line with World Bank standards,” and as part of the settlement, “the company will cooperate with INT on other World Bank investigations.”
During the period of debarment, the Crown Agents for Oversea Governments and Administrations Limited and its affiliates cannot be awarded a contract, or otherwise participate in new activities under World Bank Group-financed or executed projects.
According to the release, the debarment following this negotiated resolution agreement is limited to the World Bank Group only.
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 work during this fiscal year included:
• 32 debarments of firms and individuals for engaging in wrongdoing while jointly debarring 37 entities with other Multilateral development Banks
• Based on an INT referral, the UK's Serious Fraud Office ordered Macmillan Publishers Limited to pay over £11 million. WBG debarred Macmillan for 6 years (2010), for bribery linked to an education project in Sudan.
• The Norwegian Authorities also took action against three former employees of “Norconsult,” based on an INT referral.
• An International Corruption Hunters Alliance brings together 286 senior enforcement and anticorruption officials from 134 countries, to inject momentum into global anti-corruption efforts.
• 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
• 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.
• Enhanced preventive training tailored to identifying red flags in projects and forensic accounting.