The World Bank and the African Development Bank have released their latest list of debarred companies. The companies were debarred because of various infractions of their regulations.
Amongst the debarred companies is a Nigerian contracting firm, Oceanic Construction and Engineering Nigeria Limited.
The company was indicted for lying about its corporate registration, including its year of incorporation. It also altered the value of its reference contracts, and experience of its key personnel. This was discovered while applying for a contract awarded to it in a joint venture operated with China Zhonghao Nigeria Limited.
The alleged fraudulent misrepresentation of facts were uncovered in two bids submitted by the Nigerian-Chinese joint venture. The bids were submitted under the African Development Bank (AfDB)-financed Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Improvement Project in Nigeria.
Details of the indictment are contained in the latest annual publication debarment list of the World Bank and AfDB. The list features names of companies and individuals barred or blacklisted from doing business with them over a period. The debarment acts as sanctions for various infractions bordering on fraudulent and corrupt practices as well as other infractions. It also includes violations of their procurement and consultancy procedures, processes and guidelines.
More Details from World Bank
The latest report published showed that the Nigerian firm was found to be directly guilty of the infringement of the regulations. However, its Chinese counterpart in the joint venture was sanctioned because of its association in line with the regulation guiding contracts, or consultancies financed by any of the multilateral development banks (MDBs).
Consequently, Oceanic Construction & Engineering Nigeria Limited was sanctioned with a cross debarment. The debarment is for the period between July 17, 2019 and January 31, 2023.
But, its Chinese counterpart, China Zhonghao Nigeria Limited was blacklisted for the period between May 7, 2020 and October 13, 2021.
During the period of their cross debarment, none of the companies would be eligible to be awarded any contract. Neither will they have any consultancy financed by any of the multilateral development banks (MDBs).
Under the Joint International Financial Institution Anti-Corruption Task Force agreement against corrupt practices, where one firm or individual is debarred by one institution for some misconduct bordering on fraud or corruption, other MDBs must also enforce the sanctions
The affiliating Banks include the AfDB, the Asian Development Bank (AsDB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Also, the European Investment Bank (EIB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), and the World Bank Group (WBG).
Although the World Bank says cross-debarment is not a punishment. However, it is “an institutional decision not to engage in business (via member countries) with a firm found to have engaged in fraudulent or corrupt behaviour”.
The Nigerian civil engineering company and its Chinese counterpart are among 32 companies and individuals published by the AfDB.
Out of the 32 defaulters published by the AfDB, 23 are contracting firms and consultancies. Nine individuals involved in various businesses in Nigeria. The affected individuals include Abuharaira Labaran Gero, Bamidele Obiniyi (also known as Bamidele Abayomi), Efe Michael Udumebraye. Also, Henry Chinedu Ojoko, Iyke Ambrose, Mayor Ejiro Hasting, Patrick Alozie Onwuka, Robinson Ekenedilichukwu Ojoko, and Ugochukwu Ezeh.
Two of the individuals were debarred by the AfDB, while seven are serving cross debarment imposed by the World Bank. Also, ten of the 23 firms were debarred by the AfDB. The 13 others made the list as a result of their cross-debarment by the World Bank.