On June 30, 2021, the World Bank Group jointly announced three separate settlement agreements reached with companies from the Republic of Yemen, Brazil and Liberia.
The first settlement involved the 6-month debarment of Al-Zubairi Group for General Trading, Contracting, Transportation, and Oil Services for engaging in “a fraudulent practice” related to a bid submitted as part of the Yemen Emergency Electricity Access Project in the Republic of Yemen. The World Bank stated that Al-Zubairi misrepresented its work experience in order to meet the project’s procurement requirements. Al-Zubairi received a reduced period of debarment for its cooperation with World Bank investigators and voluntary remedial actions. Under the settlement, the company is ineligible to participate in World Bank projects for 6 months, after which, the debarment converts to a conditional non-debarment for 12 months during which time the company can participate in World Bank projects as long as it complies with the terms of the settlement agreement. Under the agreement, Al-Zubairi agreed to implement a corporate ethics training program consistent with World Bank compliance guidelines and will continue to cooperate fully with World Bank investigators.
The second settlement involves an 11-month debarment of Companhia Basileira de Projectos e Empreendimentos (COBRAPE), a Brazil-based company that provides consultation services related to water supply, transportation, and sanitation. The settlement resolves allegations that in December 2008 the company fraudulently certified more hours than were actually worked in November and December 2008 by three professionals in connection with the Integrated Municipal Project – Betim Municipality in Brazil, a project designed to implement “integrated investments in urban environment infrastructure and social services.” COBRAPE received a reduced period of debarment due to its cooperation with investigators, remedial actions taken by the company, including the implementation of a “revised contract control system,” and the passage of time since the relevant conduct. COBRAPE also voluntarily refrained from bidding on World bank projects during settlement negotiations. Under the settlement, COBRAPE is ineligible to participate in World Bank projects for the initial 11-months of debarment, followed by a 7-month period of conditional non-debarment. Under the settlement, COBRAPE agreed to develop and implement compliance measures consistent with World Bank guidelines and continue its full cooperation with World Bank investigators.
The third settlement involves the 6-year debarment of Crosswords Ltd., a Liberian trading company, for engaging in “fraudulent and obstructive practices” in connection with the Integrated Public Financial Management Reforms for Institutional Strengthening Project II (the IPFMRP II Project) and the Social Safety Nets Project (LSSN Project) in Liberia. The IPFMRP II Project was designed to “improve domestic revenue mobilization systems, and strengthen financial control and accountability in public finances.” The LSSN Project was designed to “establish the key building blocks of a basic national safety net.” The World Bank stated that Crosswords submitted forged documents on one occasion under the LSSN project and twice under the IPFMRP II Project. Crosswords was also accused of obstructing the World Bank’s investigation into the alleged IPFMRP II project forgeries by making false statements and submitting falsified documents to World Bank investigators. Crosswords received a reduced period of debarment for ultimately admitting its culpability for the misconduct. As a condition for release from debarment, Crosswords must develop an integrity compliance program consistent with World Bank guidelines and commit to cooperating fully with World Bank investigators.