- Published on Thursday, 05 July 2012 01:57
- Written by DAILY NEWS Reporter
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THE World Bank Group has banned for three years two wholly-owned subsidiaries of Oxford University Press (OUP), namely Oxford University Press East Africa Limited (OUPEA) and Oxford University Press Tanzania Limited (OUPT), for misconduct by the subsidiaries in relation to the bank's funded education projects in East Africa.
The two companies made improper payments to government officials for two contracts to supply text books in relation to two World Bank-financed projects.In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Breton Woods institution said the debarment is part of a Negotiated Resolution Agreement (NRA) between OUP and the World Bank Group.
In May, last year, investigators from the World Bank's Integrity Vice-Presidency (INT) approached OUP about possible misconduct in Africa. Following the development, OUP conducted an internal investigation into its operations and reported its findings to INT."This debarment is testimony to the bank's continued commitment to protecting the integrity of its projects.
"OUP's acknowledgment of misconduct and the thoroughness of its investigation is evidence of how companies can address issues of fraud and corruption and change their corporate practices to foster integrity in the development business.
"In this case, working with the Serious Fraud Office also demonstrates the scope of collective action in deterring corruption impacting the progress of development," said Leonard McCarthy, World Bank Integrity Vice-President.
As a result, OUPEA and OUPT will be debarred for three years and OUP will receive a conditional non-debarment. In addition, in order to remedy part of the harm done by the misconduct, OUP has agreed to make a payment of 500,000 US dollars as part of the NRA.
Under the Agreement, OUP and its related undertakings, including OUPEA and OUPT, commit to cooperate with the World Bank's Integrity Vice-Presidency and continue to improve their internal compliance programme.
The banning of OUPEA and OUPT qualifies for cross-debarment by other Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) under the Agreement of Mutual Recognition of Debarments that was signed on April 9, 2010.
A functional cross-debarment agreement among the companies debarred by the Bank Group can no longer seek business from other MDBs, closing a loophole in multilateral development programmes.
The World Bank Integrity Vice-Presidency (INT) is responsible for preventing, deterring and investigating allegations of fraud, collusion and corruption in World Bank projects, capitalizing on the experience of a multilingual and highly specialized team of investigators and forensic accountants.