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NEWS October 15, 2020

World Bank Group Issues FY20 Sanctions System Annual Report

On October 9, 2020, the World Bank Group (WBG) published the third joint Sanctions System Annual Report (FY20) addressing the institution’s continued efforts to investigate and adjudicate allegations of misconduct in projects financed by the World Bank Group. This publication presents an overview of the sanctions system and its results as reported by the Sanctions Board (SBS), the Integrity Vice Presidency (INT), and the Office of Suspension and Debarment (OSD). Additionally, the report presents important data from the WBG Integrity Compliance Officer, which sheds light on how sanctioned entities move toward release from ineligibility in some cases. During fiscal year 2020, the World Bank Group sanctioned 49 firms and individuals. Pursuant to the sanctions imposed, 46 firms and individuals were debarred, making them ineligible to participate in projects and operations financed by institutions of the World Bank Group. In addition, three firms were sanctioned with conditional non-debarment, which means they remain eligible to participate in World Bank Group-financed operations but will be debarred if they do not meet certain agreed-upon conditions.

Highlights specific to the Sanctions Board include the publication of six fully-reasoned decisions, setting out in detail the Sanctions Board’s analysis and conclusions with respect to the merits of INT’s allegations and respondents’ defenses; evidentiary and procedural disputes; and factors relevant to the determination of a sanction, if any. Sanctions Board decisions published this year related to projects financed by IBRD, IDA, and a multi-donor trust fund administered by IDA. The projects at issue sought to develop the agricultural, energy, infrastructure, and water sectors of several countries including Afghanistan, Belarus, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Georgia, Lebanon, and Nigeria.

The Sanctions Board has considered new complex cases this year, the Secretariat has engaged in varied educational and outreach efforts, and all units have worked to ensure that the sanctions system continues to function efficiently during the COVID-19 global pandemic. The Sanctions Board considers all cases independently and de novo, with a review of additional evidence and arguments, including statements made at Sanctions Board hearings (33% of cases in FY20).

These and other statistics covered in the report demonstrate the WBG’s dedication to combating fraud and corruption in WBG-financing, and to ensuring that institutional decisions to suspend or sanction an individual or a firm follow a fair and evidence-based process. Additionally, the many examples of outreach and knowledge sharing by all units (INT, OSD, and the Sanctions Board) supplying data for this report – both in this publication and throughout the fiscal year – reflect our commitment to engage productively with all stakeholders and ensure transparency with respect to the sanctions process and its results.