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World Bank debars technology company and MD for ‘appreciation payments’ to project officials

The World Bank debarred a Nigerian technology company and its managing director Wednesday for corrupt practices connected to a project in Nigeria.

SoftTech IT Solutions and Services Ltd. (SoftTech) was debarred for four years and two months, and its managing director Isah Salihu Kantigi was debarred for five years. Both SoftTech and Kantigi are ineligible to participate in projects and operations financed by the World Bank Group during the respective debarment periods.

According to the World Bank, Kantigi, acting as a consultant, made “appreciation” payments to project officials as a reward for receiving a consultancy services contract. Kantigi also helped other consultants to facilitate similar payments to project officials, which constitutes a corrupt practice under the World Bank’s Consultant Guidelines. 

SoftTech, acting under the direction of Kantigi, served as the conduit through which he and the other individual consultants made the payments to project officials, the World Bank said.

The $1.8 billion World Bank-funded project was designed to provide access to targeted cash transfers to poor and vulnerable households under an expanded national social safety nets system.

As part of the settlement, Kantigi committed to taking corporate ethics training that demonstrates a commitment to personal integrity and business ethics. SoftTech committed to implementing a corporate ethics training program and a code of conduct that reflects the principles set out in the World Bank Group Integrity Compliance Guidelines, the World Bank said. 

Additionally, any affiliate that Kantigi or SoftTech controls — directly or indirectly — will be required to similarly implement a Code of Conduct and corporate ethics training program.

The debarment qualifies for cross-debarment by 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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