Within the network of investigators and prosecutors from over 130 countries known as the World Bank International Corruption Hunters Alliance, we feel optimistic about all that is happening to support our mission of ensuring that every development dollar is spent with integrity.
To achieve that at the World Bank Group, we at the Integrity Vice Presidency (INT) are continually advancing our investigative techniques, our preventive advice, monitoring the compliance standards of debarred entities and engaging with partners across multilateral development banks, national enforcement agencies and CSOs to strengthen this young global movement against corruption.
Last fiscal year, the World Bank prevented approximately $138 million across 20 contracts from being awarded to companies that had attempted to engage in misconduct. This is progress that could not have been achieved without years of investigative experience invested in gathering evidence, patterns of misconduct and documenting lessons learned.
This fiscal year, INT investigations led to the debarment of 71 entities. Our response to fraud and corruption risks covered 61 projects and 93 contracts worth about $523 million.
This integrated approach is the outcome of a closer engagement with frontline project leaders, courageous citizens who can no longer tolerate corruption as a norm, private entities that are excluded from development bidding and those who suffered consequences of poor judgement, as well as national entities seeking a higher standard for their anti-corruption efforts.
As a development institution, there is no doubt that corruption is a major challenge to the World Bank’s goal of ending poverty. Our President, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, said: “When money is lost through illicit financial flows, it often finds its way across borders to fund major crime, including drug and human trafficking. Our goals are tied to efforts to fight corruption and it’s a challenge that demands our constant vigilance.”
So what’s next?
For INT, we will continue our mission to prevent, deter and investigate fraud and corruption impacting World Bank-financed projects. Our goal is to strengthen our engagement with global leaders on fraud and corruption challenges that directly impact development efforts beyond our projects.
When I took on the position to manage the World Bank Group’s Integrity Vice Presidency in 2008, I explained to my son that our work is to make his world a better place. Seven years later, my optimism remains.
Leonard McCarthy is the Integrity Vice President of the World Bank Group, a position he has held since June 2008. The mandate of the Integrity Vice Presidency (INT) is to anticipate, detect, deter and prevent fraud and corruption in Bank Group-supported activities. Prior to joining the World Bank Group, Mr. McCarthy headed the Directorate of Special Operations (DSO) in South Africa.