The International Corruption Hunters Network is the latest initiative of the World Bank to help thwart fraud and corruption in the use of aid money. For the Guardian’s Larry Elliott, “the idea is a good one.”
Elliott says, “There are countless individual agencies around the world dedicated to stamping out financial crime: pooling their expertise should make it more difficult for the venal to get away with it.”
In fiscal 2010, the bank has debarred 45 firms, individuals, and non-governmental organizations, preventing them from participating in future World Bank-financed projects for varying periods of time, according to the latest annual report of the bank’s Integrity Vice Presidency.
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The bank has trained nearly 1,200 people in preventive activities against fraud and corruption such as identifying red flags in procurement and managing integrity risks in development projects, according to the report.
The report adds that the bank has forwarded 32 referrals of investigative findings to governments and anti-corruption agencies to allow them to conduct their own criminal investigations to determine if laws of their countries have been violated and take corrective measures.
Leonard McCarthy, World Bank vice president on integrity, told Elliott that the budget for the integrity unit increased from USD13.3 million to USD18.7 million between 2006 and 2010. Its staff also increased from 46 to 98 in the same period.
“The bank can say, therefore, that it is putting its money where its mouth is,” Elliott notes.
The World Bank, along with other development banks, formalized in April a cross debarment agreement to jointly blacklist and debar companies and consultants found to have engaged in corrupt practices in bank-financed development projects.