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World Bank debars units of Aussie engineer SMEC

The World Bank Thursday said it debarred five subsidiaries of a leading Australia-based engineering firm after the bank found evidence of “inappropriate payments.” 

SMEC International Pty. Ltd., a subsidiary of SMEC Holdings Pty. Ltd., was debarred for 12 months under a Negotiated Resolution Agreement.

Four other SMEC units based in India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, were debarred for 6 to 30 months, the World Bank said.

A World Bank investigation found “evidence indicating inappropriate payments made in relation to World Bank-financed projects in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.” 

The bank also found misrepresentations in meeting bidding requirements for World Bank-financed projects in Sri Lanka and India.

SMEC says on its website it has 5,800 people working in 80 offices in 40 countries throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Americas.

Under the settlement terms, SMEC agreed to enhance its group-wide compliance program to meet the World Bank’s Integrity Compliance Guidelines. 

According to the World Bank:

SMEC International Pty. Ltd. of Australia was debarred for 12 months

SMEC (India) Pvt. Ltd. was debarred for six months

SMEC Bangladesh Ltd. was debarred for 30 months

ACE Consultants Ltd. in Bangladesh was debarred for 30 months, and 

OCYANA Consultants (Pvt.) Ltd. in Sri Lanka was debarred for 30 months. 

Sanctioned entities debarred for more than 12 months qualify for cross-debarment by other Multilateral Development Banks under the 2010 Agreement of Mutual Recognition of Debarments (pdf).

In addition to the World Bank, parties to the cross-debarment agreement are the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the African Development Bank.

A list of all World Bank debarred entities and individuals is here.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. 

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