World Bank Applauds Action by the UK Serious Fraud Office in Relation to Bribery Charges Against Macmillan Publishers Limited In An Education Project in Sudan

July 22, 2011

The announcement highlights the World Bank’s commitment to working with enforcement agencies worldwide to advance global action against corruption in development projects

WASHINGTON, July 22, 2011-- The World Bank welcomes the announcement today by the UK Serious Fraud Office to order Macmillan Publishers Limited to pay a substantial sum stemming from an SFO corruption investigation, which was launched in response to a referral from the World Bank’s Integrity Vice-Presidency (INT).
“Today’s announcement is testament to the importance of unified global action against corruption to ensure efforts to educate the children of Sudan and other developing countries are not undermined by corruption,” said Stephen Zimmermann, Director of Operation, World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency. “The actions taken by British authorities in response to a referral from the World Bank are a clear signal that corruption impacting development will not escape the rule of law.”
In April 2010, the World Bank Group debarred Macmillan Limited, a U.K. company, declaring the company ineligible to be awarded Bank-financed contracts for a period of six years in the wake of the company’s admission of bribery payments relating to a Trust Fund-supported education project in Sudan. The debarment can be further reduced to three years depending upon the company implementing a compliance program and their cooperation with INT.
Following the INT investigation, the World Bank referred its findings to the UK authorities, which launched their own investigation.
“Corruption in any form is inexcusable, but corruption in an education program for children in a developing country is simply repugnant,”
said Zimmermann. “To be truly effective in breaking the cycle of corruption, we must leverage the impact and deterrent effect of the World Bank’s investigations and referrals. This is one of the primary objectives of the International Alliance that the World Bank launched in December 2010, of which Sudan is a member. As we join the Sudanese people in celebrating their independence, we remain committed to supporting their integrity efforts to secure a better future.”
About The World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency (INT)
The World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency (INT) is responsible for 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. INT’s recent work included:

  • 117 investigations in FY10, with 45 debarments of firms and individuals for engaging in wrongdoing
  • 32 referrals of investigative information to governments and anticorruption agencies, based on completed INT investigations, for follow-up national action
  • A cross-debarment agreement among the Multilateral Development Banks, so that companies debarred by the Bank Group can no longer seek business from other multilateral development banks (MDBs), closing a loophole in multilateral development programs
  • An International Corruption Hunters Alliance bringing together 250 senior officials from 134 countries, to inject momentum into global anti-corruption efforts
  • Cooperation agreements in support of parallel investigations, asset recovery and information sharing with the UK Serious Fraud Office, the European Anti-Fraud Office, the International Criminal Court, USAID, and the Australian Agency for International Development.
  • High-profile debarments in the past two years, including UK publisher Macmillan Limited and Siemens OO (Russian subsidiary). As part of the settlement with the World Bank, Siemens AG agreed to pay $100 million to support the global fight against corruption.
  • Enhanced preventive training in FY10,INT staff training nearly 1,200 people in preventive activities such as identifying red flags in procurement and managing integrity risks in development projects.
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