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World Bank debars construction company for misleading bids and obstructing investigators

The World Bank Wednesday announced the 41-month debarment of a Vietnam-based construction firm for fraudulent and obstructive practices related to projects in Vietnam.

HTC Construction and Advanced Technology Joint Stock Company (HTC) is ineligible to participate in projects and operations financed by institutions of the World Bank during the debarment.

According to the World Bank, HTC misrepresented its financial statements and inflated the values of its past contracts to mislead procurement officials into awarding the company contracts for four projects in Vietnam.

During the investigation, HTC “consistently denied the applicability of the World Bank’s inspection and audit rights and refused to provide [investigators] with evidence, thereby materially impeding the investigation,” the World Bank said.

HTC’s conduct constitutes fraudulent and obstructive practices under the World Bank’s 2010 and 2011 Procurement Guidelines.

As a condition for release under the terms of the settlement agreement, the company, and any directly or indirectly controlled affiliates, committed to implementing integrity compliance measures that reflect the relevant principles set out in the World Bank’s Integrity Compliance Guidelines.

The company also committed to continue to fully cooperate with the World Bank’s Integrity Vice Presidency.

The World Bank said the settlement agreement provides for a reduced period of debarment in light of the company’s “admission of wrongdoing and voluntary restraint from bidding on World Bank funded Projects.”

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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