PRESS RELEASE

Republic of Guinea Convicts Three of Corruption Based on World Bank Referral

June 17, 2004

WASHINGTON, June 17, 2004 – The Minister of Justice of the Republic of Guinea has informed the World Bank of the criminal convictions of three individuals involved in corrupt activities in relation to the World Bank-financed "Capacity for Service Delivery" (PRCI) project.  The Guinean Ministry of Justice took this action following an investigation and criminal referral by the World Bank's Department of Institutional Integrity to Guinean authorities in October 2003.

"The World Bank applauds the Guinean government, and in particular the Minister of Justice, for swift action in investigating and prosecuting this corruption case, which stemmed from a referral by the World Bank's investigative unit," said Callisto Madavo, World Bank Vice President for Africa.  "These convictions show that fraud and corruption will not be tolerated on World Bank-financed projects.  The funds we lend must go to help the people of Guinea reduce poverty.  We were glad to cooperate in this matter with the Guinean authorities."

The World Bank Department of Institutional Integrity (INT) began an investigation of the US$19 million PRCI project following an initial allegation of corruption reported to INT in March 2003.  Upon completion of a substantiated investigation, the World Bank suspended the PCRI project pending the completion of a forensic audit and criminal investigation.  Following a direct criminal referral to the then Prime Minister, Guinean officials immediately launched an investigation that led to the convictions announced.  The PCRI project remains suspended and will not be reopened before its closure date of June 30, 2004.

Of the three individuals convicted, one was found guilty of corruption and sentenced to five years in prison and fined F.G. 3,000,000.  The other two individuals were convicted of Criminal Abstention (defined as willfully taking no action to prevent the commission of a crime, even though it was possible to do so), and were each sentenced to three years in prison and fined F.G. 1,000,000 for their involvement.

The World Bank Department of Institutional Integrity is charged with investigating allegations of fraud and corruption in Bank-financed projects.  It is staffed by a multi-national team of more than forty professionals, including investigators, legal specialists, forensic accountants, procurement specialists and experienced Bank project managers.  Additional information can be found at http://www.worldbank.org/integrity.  Allegations of fraud and corruption related to World Bank-financed projects can be reported to 1-800-831-0463 24 hours a day and an international AT&T operator with international translation is available.  To reverse charges (collect calls), 704-556-7046.  Reports may be anonymous, and can also be made in person or on line at investigations_hotline@worldbank.org.

Media Contacts
In Washington
Edith Wilson
Tel : (202) 473-1104
ewilson1@worldbank.org


PRESS RELEASE NO:
2004/456/S

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