Transparency International welcomes the decision by the World Bank to provide more information on fraud and corruption cases that are heard by its Sanction Board because it will bring to light important information on those asking for and taking bribes.
"This decision will provide insights into how corruption happens in the first place and identify weak spots so it can be prevented from happening again - and undermining development", said Transparency International chair Huguette Labelle.
The move, announced on 30 May, will provide the public with access to the Sanction Board's findings and conclusions on cases brought before it. Since the sanctioning system was started, the World Bank has issued various penalties, including debarment, against more than 530 firms and private individuals for misconduct, fraud and corruption. Until now, only the names of the debarred parties was disclosed as well as any penalties levied.
The decision to make the full case findings open is one that many see tied to the overall push by the World Bank to be more transparent. In 2011, the World Bank issued a new Access to Information Policy, which presumed all information would be disclosed, unless it was included in its list of exemptions. The World Bank also decided to open up all its development data (2010) and aid flows (2008).
Transparency International asks that the World Bank take an additional step of information disclosure: report the date and government agency to which the names of public officials implicated in a case have been reported.
This information would allow civil society and other actors to track whether governments are taking action domestically to investigate their own nationals that have been accused of misconduct.
The Sanction Board serves as an administrative tribunal for the World Bank, passing the final decision on any contested case where sanctions have been proposed against contractors on World Bank projects. In 2011, the World Bank funded US $43 billion worth of development projects.
The World Bank's sanctioning system was put in place in 1999 to punish bad conduct and corruption found among its projects.
Transparency International is the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption.
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