World Bank Sanctions Oxford University Press for Corrupt Practices Impacting Education Projects in East Africa

July 3, 2012

Two subsidiaries debarred -- company agrees to pay $500,000 to the World Bank as part of settlement

WASHINGTON, July 3, 2012—The World Bank Group today announced the debarment of 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 a period of three years following OUP’s acknowledgment of misconduct by its two subsidiaries in relation to two Bank-financed education projects in East Africa.

The debarment is part of a Negotiated Resolution Agreement between OUP and the World Bank Group. In May 2011, investigators from the World Bank’s Integrity Vice Presidency (INT) approached OUP about potential misconduct in Africa. Following this, 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.

The two companies made improper payments to government officials for two contracts to supply text books in relation to two World Bank-financed projects. 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 US$500,000 to the World Bank as part of the Negotiated Resolution.

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 program. The debarment of OUPEA and OUPT qualifies for cross-debarment by other MDBs under the Agreement of Mutual Recognition of Debarments that was signed on April 9, 2010.

About The World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency (INT)

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. Key results of INT’s work include:

  • 83 debarments of firms and individuals for engaging in wrongdoing during this fiscal year
  • Following Alstom’s acknowledgment of misconduct in relation to a Bank-financed hydropower project in Zambia, the World Bank debarred Alstom Hydro France and Alstom Network Schweiz AG (Switzerland) - in addition to their affiliates - for a period of three years as part of a Negotiated Resolution Agreement between Alstom and the World Bank which also includes a restitution payment by the two companies totaling approximately $9.5 million.
  • Based on an INT referral, UK authorities ordered Macmillan Publishers Limited to pay over £11 million. WBG debarred Macmillan for 6 years (2010), for bribery linked to an education project in Sudan.
  • The Norwegian Authorities also took prosecutorial action against three former employees of “Norconsult,” based on an INT referral.
  • The second meeting of the International Corruption Hunters Alliance brought together 175 senior enforcement and anticorruption officials from 6 regions, to inject momentum into global anti-corruption efforts.
  • A functional 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
  • Cooperation agreements in support of parallel investigations, asset recovery and information sharing with the UK Serious Fraud Office, the European Anti-Fraud Office, Interpol, the International Criminal Court, USAID, the Australian Agency for International Development, the UN Office for Internal Oversight and several national authorities
  • Enhanced preventive training and forensic audits designed to identify and address red flags and integrity controls in World Bank projects.
Media Contacts
In Washington
Dina Elnaggar
Tel : (202) 473-3245
In London
Derek Warren
Tel : (44) 207 592 8402