On March 30, 2022, the World Bank Group announced a 50-month debarment of Nigeria-based SoftTech IT Solutions and Services Ltd. and a 60-month debarment of its Managing Director, Isah Salihu Kantigi, for allegedly engaging in corrupt practices in connection with their work on the National Social Safety Nets Project in Nigeria.
According to the World Bank, Kantigi was an individual consultant who made “appreciation” payments to project officials to reward them for granting him a World Bank-funded consultancy agreement, and SoftTech allegedly served as a conduit for the improper payments. At the direction of Kantigi, the company transferred funds received from him to the personal accounts of project officials. The World Bank’s press release also states that Kantigi facilitated similar payments from other consultants to project officials, again using SoftTech as a conduit. Under the World Bank’s Consultant Guidelines, the actions of both Kantigi and SoftTech are considered corrupt practices.
Kantigi and SoftTech received reduced periods of debarment due to their acknowledgment of the misconduct and their cooperation with the World Bank’s investigation. As a condition for release from debarment, Kantigi agreed to undertake “corporate ethics trainings that demonstrate a commitment to personal integrity and business ethics,” and SoftTech agreed to implement a corporate ethics training program and a code of conduct that implements the principles of the World Bank Group Integrity Compliance Guidelines. As part of the settlement, any affiliates that are controlled by Kantigi or SoftTech are also required to implement a similar training program and code of conduct. In addition, both Kantigi and SoftTech committed to continue their full cooperation with World Bank investigators.