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World Bank releases new report on suspensions and debarments

Pascale Hélène Dubois, the World Bank’s Chief Suspension and Debarment OfficerThe World Bank has publicly debarred or otherwise sanctioned more than 700 firms and individuals, according to an 80-page report released Friday.

Most cases of “Sanctionable Practices” involving World Bank loans are decided by the Bank’s Office of Suspension and Debarment or OSD. 

The OSD’s report issued Friday covers 2007 through 2015.

In the year ended June 30, 2015, the World Bank temporarily suspended 54 firms and individuals and debarred or sanctioned 73 firms and individuals.

The World Bank’s Chief Suspension and Debarment Officer is Pascale Hélène Dubois. She’s a Belgian national and a lawyer.

She’s been in the post since 2007, when the Office of Suspension and Debarment or OSD was set up. She was appointed by the World Bank president and reports directly to his office.

In an email to the FCPA Blog Monday, Pascale said: “The Bank’s policies emphasize transparency about performance and the value of sharing data, and so there is good reason to share as much information as we can about the key metrics for our system.”

The World Bank operates in every developing country. In the fiscal year ended June 30, 2015, it committed $60 billion in loans, grants, equity investments, and guarantees.

The objective is to help promote economic growth, overcome poverty, and promote economic enterprise in developing countries.

Most World Bank debarments are also recognized through cross-debarment agreements with the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the Inter-American Development Bank.

Sanctionable Practices in World Bank parlance include:

A “corrupt practice” — offering, giving, receiving or soliciting, directly or indirectly, of anything of value to influence improperly the actions of another party.

A “fraudulent practice” — any act or omission, including a misrepresentation, that knowingly or recklessly misleads, or attempts to mislead, a party to obtain a financial or other benefit or to avoid an obligation. A “collusive practice” is an arrangement between two or more parties designed to achieve an improper purpose, including to influence improperly the actions of another party.

A “coercive practice” — impairing or harming, or threatening to impair or harm, directly or indirectly, any party or the property of the party to influence improperly the actions of a party.

An “obstructive practice” — (i) deliberately destroying, falsifying, altering or concealing of evidence material to the investigation or making false statements to investigators in order to materially impede a Bank investigation into allegations of a corrupt, fraudulent, coercive or collusive practice; and/or threatening, harassing or intimidating any party to prevent it from disclosing its knowledge of matters relevant to the investigation or from pursuing the investigation, or (ii) acts intended to materially impede the exercise of the Bank’s contractual rights of audit or access to information

The report released Friday is the second edition of OSD’s Report on Functions, Data and Lessons Learned. It’s available here.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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