The World Bank’s Annual Report on investigations into fraud and corruption allegations sets an example for other development banks and international institutions including the UN to follow, says Transparency International
The publication today by the World Bank of its Annual Report detailing anti-fraud and corruption investigations is “a welcome step, and an example for other development banks to follow,” said Transparency International (TI) Chairman Peter Eigen today. “The lessons of the investigations demonstrate the importance of further strengthening anti-corruption checks in World Bank lending around the world,” he said. “The World Bank’s example of publicly blacklisting companies found to have paid bribes should also be followed by other development banks and development agencies,” he continued.
The Annual Report on Investigations and Sanctions of Staff Misconduct and Fraud and Corruption in Bank-Financed Projects was published today by the World Bank’s Department of Institutional Integrity.
“Lessons drawn from the Bank’s investigations and their public disclosure should also be learned by the United Nations in its own current internal review of accountability,” said Eigen. “This is a particularly important exercise following the allegations of corruption amounting to billions of dollars in the UN oil-for-food programme in Iraq.” TI is the leading global non-governmental organisation devoted to combating corruption.
“World Bank President James Wolfensohn deserves credit for his leadership in tackling the ‘cancer of corruption’,” said Eigen, “and the World Bank is to be commended for its willingness to publish a detailed account of how it handled investigations into corruption within the organisation.”
Today’s report into fraud and corruption within the World Bank and on Bank-finance projects includes completed investigations into more than 2,000 cases, and provides detailed data for the fiscal year 2004 and summary data for 1999-2004. As well as having introduced a 24-hour hotline and whistleblower protection, the World Bank has announced its intention to institute a formal programme to encourage firms participating in Bank-financed projects to voluntarily disclose fraud and corruption and undertake corporate reform in return for more lenient sanctions.
“The results indicate that good governance in both the public and private sector require adherence to rigorous codes of conduct and anti-bribery programmes,” said Nancy Zucker Boswell, Managing Director of Transparency International USA and a member of TI’s international Board of Directors. “The World Bank and other development banks should require bidders on all bank projects to have effective programmes and should encourage borrowers to do the same. “
We welcome today’s report and hope that future reports will indicate how the institution has monitored the implementation of anti-corruption policies, and what improvements it is making to strengthen their effectiveness.”
Nancy Zucker Boswell stressed the importance of “continued political support and financial resources for this important function within the World Bank and assistance to developing world governments to develop investigation and prosecutorial skills.”
The World Bank’s Annual Report on Investigations and Sanctions of Staff Misconduct and Fraud and Corruption in Bank-Financed Projects can be accessed at www.worldbank.org/brief/corruption
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