What can the World Bank Group’s Integrity Vice Presidency (INT) investigate?

The World Bank Group’s Integrity Vice Presidency (INT) investigates allegations of fraud, corruption, collusion, coercion and obstruction in World Bank Group-supported activities, including allegations against World Bank Group staff. INT investigations rely heavily on the information that we receive, so we encourage people involved in activities supported by World Bank Group funds to report suspected fraud or corruption.

Below are definitions and examples that can help you to determine whether you should submit a complaint to INT.

Fraud

A fraudulent practice is any act or omission, including a misrepresentation, that knowingly or recklessly misleads, or attempts to mislead, a party to obtain a financial or other benefit or to avoid an obligation.

Hypothetical example: A consulting company is awarded multiple World Bank Group-financed contracts, totaling millions of dollars. The proposals submitted by the consulting company contain numerous examples of past project experience and references that contribute to its success and eligibility. However, a review of the consulting company's past project experience reveals that the company falsely claimed the experiences of individual consultants as its own. It has also grossly exaggerated the value of the projects that it has undertaken. Both claiming the experience of the individual consultants as its own and exaggerating the value of its pasts projects are examples of fraudulent practices.

Corruption

A corrupt practice is the offering, giving, receiving or soliciting, directly or indirectly, anything of value to influence improperly the actions of another party.

Hypothetical example: A supplier agrees to pay a "kickback" to a senior government official whose influence over the bid evaluation committee can steer the award of the contract. This supplier builds in the kickback amount as a percentage of the contract value and pays for it from the funds it receives from the World Bank Group-supported project. Project financing costs are artificially inflated by these practices, and the supplier recovers costs by providing less expensive and lower quality goods.

Collusion

A collusive practice is an arrangement between two or more parties designed to achieve an improper purpose, including influencing improperly the actions of another party.

Hypothetical example: Rather than compete with each other, several local suppliers of a commonly-used product agree to work together on several upcoming tenders for a World Bank Group project. They collectively agree to submit across-the-board inflated prices, and they take turns offering the lowest qualified bid during each round of bidding. This collusive practice ensures that each of the suppliers will win some of the contracts. It also ensures a high profit margin for all who have colluded, thus not providing the best value for the client.

Coercion

A coercive practice is impairing or harming, or threatening to impair or harm, directly or indirectly, any party or the property of the party to influence improperly the actions of a party.

Hypothetical example:  People connected to a competitor block a contractor from entering the building where bids are being submitted, stopping him from submitting his bid for a World Bank-funded project. They also tell him that "if he cares for his family, he should not submit a bid." Another bidder who comes to submit a bid is also prevented from entering the building by physical force by the same individuals, who tell the bidder that "it is not his turn to win this contract."  The two bidders do not submit bids out of fear and leave.

Obstruction

An obstructive practice is deliberately destroying, falsifying, altering or concealing evidence material to the investigation or making false statements to investigators in order to materially impede a World Bank Group investigation.

Hypothetical example: World Bank Group investigators contact a company alleged to have paid a bribe on a World Bank Group-supported contract and request to audit the company's financial records. The company refuses to allow investigators to perform the audit, despite its agreement and obligation under the contract to allow the World Bank Group access to these records.  The company also withholds key documents and alters other documents that it gave to the investigators. The company’s refusal to allow investigators to perform an audit, the intentional withholding of key documents, and the falsification of the documents given to investigators are all examples of obstruction.

Staff Misconduct

INT investigates allegations of fraud, corruption, coercion, and collusion involving World Bank Group staff.  INT also investigates allegations of staff misconduct involving the misuse of World Bank Group funds or other public funds for the personal gain of oneself or another; abuse of position for the personal gain of oneself or another; attendant conflicts of interest; and related acts of misconduct occurring in World Bank Group-supported activities.

World Bank Group staff includes any individual who holds a letter of appointment with the World Bank Group, including consultants and temporaries.

Examples of staff misconduct that should be reported to INT:

  • A staff member asks a short-term consultant for a fixed “fee” or a 2% kickback of their consulting payment.
  • A company bidding on a World Bank Group-supported contract pays for dance lessons for the children of the project TTL.
  • A short-term consultant owns a company that is also working as World Bank Group vendor.
  • A World Bank Group staff member receives a private loan from one of the companies bidding on a World Bank-supported project the staff member is working on.
  • A staff member shares confidential procurement information with companies bidding on World Bank Group-supported contracts.

Other Resources

The Ethics and Business Conduct Department (EBC) addresses other allegations of World Bank Group staff misconduct, focusing on workplace grievances (e.g., harassment and retaliation) and other violations of Bank policies. EBC can be reached here: ethics_helpline@worldbank.org.

For concerns pertaining to project-affected communities, please contact the Grievance Redress Service of the World Bank: grievances@worldbank.org.

For requests of project information, documents and data, statistics and publications please see: Access to Information.

For verification of employment for World Bank Group employees, please contact World Bank's Human Resources Service Center: (202) 473-2222 or hrservicecenter@worldbank.org.

Beware of Scams.  INT does not have the jurisdiction to investigate email scams that misuse the World Bank name or logo.  Please contact local law enforcement authorities if you believe you have been a victim of this type of fraud. Further information on these types of scams: