WASHINGTON, October 12, 2022 — The World Bank Group today highlighted its efforts to advance the fight against fraud and corruption in the development projects it finances, with the release of its Sanctions System Annual Report for fiscal year 2022.
The joint report of the World Bank Group’s Integrity Vice Presidency (INT), Office of Suspension and Debarment (OSD), and Sanctions Board, illustrates how in a time of increasingly complex global challenges and historic development support by the World Bank Group, the institution’s sanctions system was resolute in maintaining its anticorruption oversight of the institution’s development financing.
“While our institution continues to provide historic levels of support around the world, it remains critical that these funds are used in a transparent and accountable manner and only for their intended purposes. We must be continually vigilant against corruption in the projects supported by the Bank Group,” noted World Bank Group President David Malpass in the report’s foreword. “The offices that comprise the sanctions system work together to send a clear message: corruption has no place in development.”
INT is the independent unit within the World Bank Group that works to detect, deter, and prevent fraud and corruption in World Bank Group-financed operations and by World Bank Group staff and corporate vendors. OSD is the first tier of the World Bank’s adjudicative system and is tasked with impartially reviewing whether there is sufficient evidence that an entity investigated by INT has engaged in sanctionable misconduct and, if so, determining an appropriate sanction. The Sanctions Board is an independent administrative tribunal that serves as the second and final tier of review for contested sanctions cases.
Together, the offices of the sanctions system play a critical role in helping the World Bank Group safeguard the resources it deploys from the damaging impacts that fraud and corruption can have on development.
In fiscal year 2022, the World Bank Group sanctioned 35 firms and individuals, of which 32 were debarred with conditional release, making them ineligible to participate in project and operations financed by the institutions of the World Bank Group. Three firms were sanctioned with conditional non-debarment, leaving them eligible, as long as they continue to meet certain agreed-upon conditions while under sanction.
The institution also recognized 72 cross-debarments from other multilateral development banks (MDBs), while 30 World Bank Group debarments were eligible for recognition by other MDBs.
A full list of the firms and individuals currently debarred by the World Bank Group can be found here: www.worldbank.org/debarr.
Fiscal Year 2022 Summary
The World Bank Group’s sanction system continued to carry out its anticorruption mission and helped support the institution in bringing greater integrity, transparency, and accountability to the development operations supported by the World Bank Group’s financing. In fiscal year 2022:
- INT received 3,380 complaint submissions, opened 330 new preliminary external investigations, and started 48 new external investigations, while closing 31 existing external investigations. INT submitted 18 sanctions cases, and 12 settlements to OSD for review. An additional three settlements were submitted to the IFC Evaluation Officer for review.
- OSD reviewed 15 cases and 12 settlements, temporarily suspended 14 firms and six individuals, and sanctioned 11 respondents via uncontested determinations.
- The Sanctions Board published four fully-reasoned decisions resolving four contested sanctions cases against six respondents.The Sanctions Board convened virtual hearings in one of those cases.
Each of the sanctions related to a finding that the firm or individual engaged in at least one of the institution’s five sanctionable practices—fraud, corruption, collusion, coercion, or obstruction—in connection with a World Bank Group-funded project.
- The Integrity Compliance Office (ICO), which sits within INT and works with sanctioned firms and individuals to institute reforms in alignment with the World Bank Group’s Integrity Compliance Guidelines and to reduce the opportunities for future misconduct, engaged with 81 sanctioned parties toward meeting their conditions for release.
- In addition, the ICO determined that 22 entities had met their conditions for release from sanction and that two entities had met the conditions for the conversion of their debarments with conditional release to conditional non-debarments.
The offices of the sanctions system also continued to share their anticorruption knowledge and insights:
- INT developed and facilitated trainings to nearly 2,800 World Bank Group and project implementation staff, government officials, and private sector representatives across multiple regions aimed at building local capacity to identify, manage, and mitigate integrity risks in development operations.
- OSD led the organization of a two-day symposium on Supranational Responses to Corruption in Vienna, Austria, addressing current and prospective anticorruption efforts at the supranational level.
- OSD organized multiple events regarding the Global Suspension & Debarment Directory, which captures data and information on the exclusion systems of 23 different countries and institutions.
- The Sanctions Board Secretariat and OSD jointly organized and hosted the second MDB workshop among first-tier officers and appellate body secretariats to discuss substantive sanctions issues and other matters of common interest across the major development institutions.
- The Sanctions Board Secretariat authored timely thought pieces on the topics of expedited reviews and provisional relief in Sanctions Board processes and the fair and appropriate imposition of debarments.