April 18, 2021

World Bank imposes eight-year debarment on engineer for corrupt practices

On April 5, 2021, the World Bank Group imposed an eight year debarment on Klemen Jerin, an engineer who worked as a project manager on the Southern African Power Market Project (SAPMP) in the Democratic Republic of Congo, for engaging in corrupt practices.  Specifically, the World Bank found that Jerin had solicited and accepted improper payments from a contractor on the World Bank project.  The payments were allegedly made in exchange for Jerin’s support in drafting and translating proposals and contracts and for his efforts to secure additional SAPMP business for the contractor.  According to the Sanctions Board, Jerin attempted to conceal the payments as legitimate charges through backdated sham contracts that required payments to two companies, one owned by Jerin and one owned by his wife. Jerin, who had been previously debarred in 2020 by the World Bank for a separate incident related to the SAPMP, was debarred for an additional eight years on top of his previous debarment of five years and six months.

Throughout the debarment period, Jerin and any companies controlled directly or indirectly by him are ineligible for contract awards on World Bank projects.  Jerin is also barred from being a subcontractor on World Bank projects and cannot receive proceeds from any loan made by the World Bank for the length of his debarment. 
The Sanctions Board determined that debarment of eight additional years was appropriate based on certain aggravating factors.  This included that Jerin’s solicitation and receipt of improper payments from the contractor were made in relation to different contracts and occurred over the course of more than five years. Additional aggravating factors were Jerin’s “central role” in the misconduct and the “sophisticated means” by which the improper conduct was carried out, including the efforts taken to conceal the misconduct.  The only mitigating factor Jerin received credit for was “the passage of a significant period of time from the commission of the misconduct,” as the solicitation and receipt of payments occurred years ago, in 2009-2010 and then again in 2013-2014.  The Sanctions Board did not give Jerin credit for cooperating with the World Bank’s investigation even though Jerin participated in two interviews conducted as part of the World Bank’s investigation because Jerin provided “implausible denials and assertions unsupported by documentation” in those interviews.  The Sanctions Board stated that it did not consider the previous sanctioned conduct to be an aggravating factor in this case as Jerin had already received punishment for that other conduct and to consider that conduct an aggravating factor here would “effectively result in sanctioning” Jerin twice.  

World Bank Press Release – Decision No. 133 | Sanctions Board Decision No. 133