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W’Bank, AfDB Blacklist 15 Nigerian Companies, 9 Individuals

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The World Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB) have blacklisted 15 Nigerian firms doing businesses with them.

Also, nine Nigerians nationals for various forms of procurement malpractices have been blacklisted by the global and continental financial institutions.

An online news medium, PREMIUM TIMES reported yesterday that AfDB had announced the debarment of a construction company (name withheld) registered in Nigeria. The company’s managing director was also debarred for 36 months beginning from May 5, 2019 to May 13, 2022.

The bank said that an investigation conducted by its Office of Integrity and Anti-Corruption established that the Nigerian firm like the 14 others already sanctioned by it, engaged in fraudulent practice while bidding for a construction contract under the Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Programme Phase One in Nigeria (ATASP-1).

ATASP-1 is financed under the African Development Fund administered by the African Development Bank Group.

“While participating in a tender for the construction of social infrastructure in Niger State, the company, misrepresented its experience in conducting similar construction contracts,” the AfDB said.

“The debarment renders the company and its managing director ineligible to participate in bank-financed projects during the debarment period.”

The debarment, AfDB explained, qualifies for cross-debarment by other multilateral development banks under the Agreement for Mutual Recognition of Debarment Decisions, including the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank Group.

The Nigerian companies and individuals are part of an infamous club of 912 firms and personalities across the world which remained temporarily blocked from bidding for contracts by multilateral development banks.

AFDB said that sanctions were usually “imposed on entities found to have participated in coercive, collusive, corrupt, fraudulent or obstructive practices under the bank’s sanctions system or adopted under the Agreement for Mutual Enforcement of Debarment Decisions.

“Flowing from its mandate, the Bank Group has a fiduciary and legal duty to ensure that funds are used for the purposes for which they were intended,” it said of its sanction regime.

“Where firms or individuals divert these funds to other uses through fraud, corruption and associated harmful practices (defined as ‘Sanctionable Practices’), the Bank Group exercises this fiduciary duty by sanctioning these entities through an administrative process.”

The Office of Integrity and Anti-Corruption of the African Development Bank Group is responsible for preventing, deterring and investigating allegations of corruption, fraud and other sanctionable practices in Bank Group-financed operations.

The investigation that led to the indictment of the construction firm was conducted by AfDB’s Esther Mhone and Justin Maenje.

While the company and its managing director are accused of misrepresenting their firm’s experience during a procurement process, the specific offences committed by the remaining 14 and eight individuals remained unclear. But the wrongdoings are all fraud related.

The firms and individuals remain ineligible to participate in contracts financed or administered by the World Bank and the African Development Bank Group for the periods stipulated against their names.

The World Bank was set up as a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. It has two goals which it aims to achieve by the year 2030.

They include ending extreme poverty by decreasing the percentage of people living on less than $1.90 a day to no more than three per cent and promoting shared prosperity by fostering the income growth of the bottom 40 per cent for every country.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group aims to reduce poverty, and spur sustainable economic development and social progress in its member countries. Nigeria’s Akinwunmi Adesina is its current President.

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