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Nigerian firms, individuals blacklisted by World Bank for corruption

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In its 2021 fiscal year, the World Bank blacklisted 18 Nigerians for engaging in corrupt practices, fraud, and collusion.

A list of debarred individuals and firms has been released in the report titled World Bank Group Sanctions System FY21.
The debarments were decided by the World Bank’s Sanctions Board, its Chief Suspension and Debarment Officer, and the African Development Bank.

By recognizing AfDB’s debarments, the World Bank made the affected firms subject to its cross-debarment policy.

Following the World Bank Sanctions Board’s decision, Elie Abou Ghazaleh, Fadi Abou Ghazaleh, and the firm, Abou Ghazaleh Contracting Nigeria Limited, are debarred for six months.

As a result of the decision, a Nigerian firm, Swansea Tools Resources, was debarred for fraudulent practices for two years and ten months.

It was reported that the company misrepresented its past experience when bidding on a road maintenance contract under Sanctions Case No 651.

A part of the report reads, “The SDO determined that the respondent, a Nigerian firm, engaged in fraudulent practice by misrepresenting its past experience in its bid for a road maintenance contract under state employment and expenditure project in Nigeria.

“The SDO imposed on the respondent a debarment with conditional release for a minimum period of two years and 10 months. As a mitigating factor, the SDO considered the respondent’s limited cooperation with investigators, noting that the respondent produced documents and agreed to be interviewed but did not accept responsibility for the misconduct.”

Juckon Construction and Allied Services Nigeria Limited, another Nigerian contractor, was also debarred for three years. According to Sanctions Case No 649, the firm made an improper payment to a public official.

The report read, “The SDO determined that the respondent, a Nigerian firm, engaged in a corrupt practice by making an improper payment to a public official in connection with the award and/or execution of two waste management and refuse collection contracts under a state employment and expenditure project in Nigeria. The SDO imposed on the respondent a debarment with conditional release for a minimum period of four years.”

Ms Okafor Glory, a Nigerian, was also debarred for fraudulent practices for four years, while Unique Concept Enterprises, the company involved, was debarred for five years.

The case involving Ms Glory and Unique Concept Enterprises was filed as Sanctions Case No 691.

It read in part, “The SDO determined that the respondents, a Nigerian firm and a Nigerian citizen, engaged in fraudulent practices by submitting false documents in connection with two refuse collection and disposal contracts under a state employment and expenditure project in Nigeria. In particular, the SDO found that: (i) the corporate respondent submitted a falsified income tax clearance certificate in its bids for the contracts; and (ii) both respondents submitted a falsified advance payment guarantee in connection with the execution of one of the contracts.

“The SDO imposed on the corporate respondent a debarment with conditional release for a minimum period of five years. On the individual respondent, the SDO imposed a debarment with conditional release for a minimum period of four years. As aggravating factors, the SDO considered that (i) the corporate respondent engaged in a repeated pattern of misconduct, and (ii) the individual respondent was the managing director of the corporate respondent.”

Asbeco Nigeria Limited another Nigerian firm was suspended for five years for corrupt practices. The matter which involved Asbeco Nigeria was presented under Sanctions Case No 675.

It read in part, “The SDO determined that the respondent, a Nigerian firm, engaged in corrupt practices in connection with an erosion control contract under an erosion and watershed management project in Nigeria. Specifically, the SDO found that the respondent (i) made a payment of N2m (approximately $12,000) to the project’s engineer to influence his actions in connection with the procurement and/or execution of the contract, and (ii) made a facilitation payment of N50,000 (approximately $160) to the project’s cashier to influence her actions in connection with the execution of the same contract.

“The SDO imposed on the respondent a debarment with conditional release for a minimum period of five years. In determining this sanction, the SDO considered as aggravating factors the respondent’s (i) engagement in a repeated pattern of corrupt activity and (ii) interference with INT’s investigation, noting in particular that the respondent engaged in acts intended to materially impede the exercise of the Bank’s contractual audit rights.”

The World Bank sanctions board decided to debar A.G. Vision Construction Nigeria Limited for fraud and collusion for four and a half years and six months.

The World Bank debars some firms that were debarred by other multilateral organizations under cross-debarment, as well as those identified so far.

Sangtech International Services Limited, Sangar & Associates (Nigeria) Limited, Mashad Integrated and Investment Co Limited, and Medniza Global Merchants Limited were debarred by the AfDB two years under cross-debarment recognised by the World Bank.

ALG Global Concept Nigeria Limited, Abuharaira Labaran Gero, Qualitrends Global Solutions Nigeria Limited, and Maxicare Company Nigeria Limited were debarred by the AfDB for three years under cross-debarment recognised by the World Bank.

David Malpass, the president of the World Bank Group, stated in his opening remarks that the bank has granted over $157 billion in assistance to developing countries and that the public sector must be held to high standards of integrity and transparency.

“Since the beginning of the global pandemic, the World Bank Group has deployed more than $157bn in critical assistance to developing countries. The crisis has required us to be rapid and innovative in mobilising this historic support.

“Yet, for these resources to have the needed development impact on the hundreds of millions of people who live in extreme poverty, we must ensure that resources are used efficiently, effectively, and for their intended purposes. And that means remaining vigilant to the scourge of corruption and ensuring that we promote the highest integrity and transparency standards in public finance,” he said.

He also mentioned some of the consequences of corruption, which he said would be devastating.

Malpass said, “The negative impacts of corruption on lives and livelihoods are well known. Corruption diverts scarce development dollars from the people who need them most and corrodes the systems and services that are integral for reducing extreme poverty.

“Entrenched corruption also comes with greater economic costs for countries, as it distorts public expenditures and leads to inefficient allocations of financing away from productive investments toward rent-seeking activities. And corruption increases the costs of doing business and deters foreign investors from entering new markets.

“As the world moves toward recovering from the pandemic’s damaging impacts, these costs can also restrict the private sector, which plays an important role in revitalizing economic growth and development in our client countries,” he added.

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