World Bank Welcomes UK, Norway's Actions on Bribery Cases in Aid Projects

The World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C. The bank lauded the actions by the British and Norwegian governments on two bribery-related cases. Photo by: Deborah W. Campos / World Bank / CC BY-NC-ND

The World Bank lauded Friday (July 22) the actions by the British and Norwegian governments on two separate bribery-related cases referred to the countries by the bank’s anti-corruption division.

The U.K. Serious Fraud Office has ordered a U.K.-based publishing company to pay some 11 million pounds ($17.9 million) following an investigation of a bribery case involving the company’s education division in West and East Africa. The World Bank referred the case against Macmillan Publishers Ltd. to SFO.

“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,” said Stephen Zimmermann, director of operations at the World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency.

Macmillan was debarred by the World Bank in May 2010 after the group admitted to paying bribes during the implementation of an education initiative funded by the Sudan Multidonor Trust Fund, which the bank manages.

>> World Bank Group Debars Macmillan

The World Bank also welcomed the decision of Norwegian National Authority for the Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime, or Okokrim, to convict three former employees of a local engineering consulting firm, Norconsult, of bribery in connection to a World Bank-financed project in Tanzania. One of the convicted former employees was also sentenced to prison time.

The World Bank said its vice presidency for integrity, or INT, has referred investigative findings on fraud and corruption-related cases in projects it funds and manages to national authorities for action.

INT is also preparing a “global threat assessment” to “examine the key intersections between corruption risk, organized crime and money laundering on the one hand and the institutional vulnerability in developing countries on the other,” World Bank Vice President for Integrity Leonard McCarthy said.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributes to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.