April 26, 2021

SNC-Lavalin announces end of World Bank debarment

On April 20, 2021, SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., an engineering and construction company based in Canada, announced the end of its debarment after the World Bank Group decided to lift sanctions earlier than the 10-year term that was originally imposed in 2013.  According to SNC-Lavalin, the decision to end the debarment was made after World Bank authorities and SNC-Lavalin’s independent monitor confirmed that the company had met all of the terms and conditions under its settlement agreement, thereby allowing SNC-Lavalin to bid and work on World Bank projects.  

In 2013, SNC-Lavalin Inc., a subsidiary of SNC-Lavalin Group, and over 100 of its affiliates were debarred following a World Bank investigation into allegations that SNC-Lavalin Inc. engaged in misconduct related to the Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project in Bangladesh and the Rural Electrification and Transmission project in Cambodia, two World Bank-financed projects.  The World Bank stated that SNC-Lavalin Inc. had with respect to both projects paid bribes and made misrepresentations during the bidding the process.  In the 2013 Negotiated Resolution Agreement between the World Bank and parent company SNC-Lavalin Group, SNC-Lavalin Group and its affiliates agreed to cooperate with World Bank investigators and make certain improvements to their internal compliance programs.  The agreement also stated that the ten-year debarment period could be reduced to eight years if SNC-Lavalin Group and its affiliates complied with all of the required conditions.

In its April 2021 announcement regarding the end of its debarment, SNC-Lavalin Group listed several of the steps it had taken to remediate, including the appointment of a Chief Integrity Officer who reports to the Board of Directors and the General Counsel, targeted annual anti-corruption training, the creation of a supplier code of conduct, the inclusion of “integrity” in employees’ performance reviews, the implementation of a whistleblower hotline, mandatory due diligence for all third parties, and the creation of a compliance investigation team separate from the internal audit function.  SNC-Lavalin Group also stated that it was recently awarded the Compliance Leader Verification for 2021-2022 by the Ethisphere Institute, an organization that defines, measures, and promotes ethical business practices.  

SNC-Lavalin Press Release | World Bank Press Release (2013)