Transparency International (TI) welcomes the announcement by the World Bank on the resolution of its investigation into allegations of bribery by Siemens AG. TI also endorses the strong message conveyed by the Bank that companies will suffer severe penalties for engaging in corruption on World Bank financed projects.
“The precedent set by Siemens’ payment of US $100 million sends a stark warning to companies that those found engaging in corrupt practices on World Bank financed projects will face monetary consequences in addition to debarment,” said Christiaan Poortman, TI Director of Global Programmes.
The Siemens case serves as a landmark, both in terms of the systemic and pervasive extent of the corrupt activities, and the far-reaching reform efforts that the company has undertaken to prevent future occurrences; including overhauling management completely, boosting compliance staff and training and compliance monitor oversight for four years. In formulating their settlement decision, the World Bank recognised the “robust and comprehensive compliance program” undertaken by the company, given the importance of remediation to prevent future occurrences.
What systemic changes the Bank and Russia, where the bribery took place, will make to their policies and operations in light of these findings will be a determining factor in safeguarding against future incidents. This case reaffirms the importance for the Bank to take action to prevent, detect and remediate vulnerabilities in its programme integrity, which have, in the past, enabled corruption to undermine its efforts.
With the anticipated, unprecedented increase in financial flows through multilateral development banks for the global economic recovery, the Bank must ensure that funds desperately needed by those affected disproportionately by the crisis are not diverted by corrupt practices.
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