The World Bank has declared sanctions against SAI Consulting Engineering Ltd and Universal for General Construction and Trading Company for engaging in corrupt practices while working on World Bank-financed projects in East Africa.
The Indian firm SAI Consulting Engineering Ltd is accused of bribing Tanzanian officials to speed up invoice payments when it worked on the East Africa Trade and Transport Facilitation Project. The work involved constructing and managing several border posts in Tanzania. The company took part in similar corrupt practices in Mozambique and Ghana.
The information on SAI’s corrupt actions was voluntarily revealed by its parent firm, SYSTRA, a French engineering and consulting group which bought 65 per cent of shares in SAI in 2014.
SAI is required to meet specific corporate compliance agreements outlined in a settlement agreement before it takes on World Bank Projects. Failure to meet the demands will result in disqualification from the bank-funded programs. The construction firm received a lenient punishment because its parent company willingly disclosed the ill actions to the World Bank.
The Washington-based institution has also disqualified South Sudanese firm – Universal for General Construction and Trading Company – from undertaking World Bank projects for 15 months due to engaging in corruption. The company used an undisclosed agent to make a false certificate for a bid on a school construction project in Uganda. The fake certificate massively inflated the value of the previous contract undertaken by the business.
The South Sudanese business has agreed to fully cooperate with the World Bank Integrity team.
The sanction on Universal Company by the World Bank also applies with other Multilateral Development Banks such as the European Investment Bank and the African Development Bank due to a law signed in April 2010 referred to as ‘Agreement for Mutual Enforcement of Debarment Decisions’.