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World Bank debars engineering consulting company for payment offenses

The World Bank Wednesday announced the 22-month debarment of a Bangladesh-based engineering consulting company for corrupt and fraudulent practices related to a project in Bangladesh.

BETS Consulting Services Limited (BETS) is ineligible to participate in projects and operations financed by institutions of the World Bank during the debarment.

The World Bank-funded Chittagong Water Supply Improvement and Sanitation Project was designed to increase sustainable access to safe water and improved sanitation, as well as support the establishment of long-term water supply, sanitation, and drainage infrastructure development and operational management program in Chattogram, Bangladesh. (Chittagong was renamed Chattogram in 2018.)

According to the World Bank, between 2014 and 2016, BETS made payments to project officials that were intended to influence the officials’ contract decisions. These payments were made with and instructed by BETS’s lead consultant company.

Additionally, BETS replaced key personnel and advised its lead consultant company against seeking approval for the replacement.

BETS also “assisted its lead consultant company in invoicing the project for reimbursable expenses that were not incurred,” the World Bank said.

BETS’ conduct constitutes fraudulent and corrupt practices under the World Bank’s Consultant Guidelines.

As a condition for release under the terms of the settlement agreement, the company committed to develop an integrity compliance program that reflects the relevant principles set out in the World Bank’s Integrity Compliance Guidelines.

The company also agreed 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 “cooperation and voluntary remedial actions.”

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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