The World Bank announced the 24-month sanction of India-based SAI Consulting Engineers in connection with corrupt practices during the company’s participation in three projects in African countries.
The projects include East Africa Trade and Transport Facilitation Project, Mozambique Roads and Bridges Management and Maintenance Project, and the Ghana Transport Sector Project.
SAI was sanctioned with conditional non-debarment, which means that it remains eligible to participate in World Bank-financed projects if it complies with certain corporate compliance obligations that are defined in a settlement agreement.
The settlement agreement is between the World Bank and both SAI and SYSTRA, a France-based international engineering and consulting group that acquired 65 percent of SAI in 2014.
The sanction is reduced in recognition that SYSTRA voluntarily disclosed SAI’s corrupt practices to the World Bank Group’s Integrity Vice Presidency (INT).
In the agreement, SAI acknowledges responsibility for the underlying sanctionable practices.
“If it does not meet its corporate compliance obligations, its sanction will convert to debarment with conditional release, meaning that the company will become ineligible to participate in World Bank-financed projects until it meets the conditions for release set out in the settlement agreement,” World Bank said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
One component of the East Africa Trade and Transport Facilitation Project, which closed in 2015, was designed to improve trade and transport facilitation in the East African Community Customs Union through construction and management of border posts.
SAI, which had contracts to build and manage several border posts in Tanzania, offered cash payment vouchers and gifts to project officials to expedite invoice payments, which is a corrupt practice.
The Mozambique Roads and Bridges Management and Maintenance Project, which closed in 2007, was designed to improve coverage and condition of roads and bridges in Mozambique.
According to the facts of the case, SAI, which had a contract to do engineering design for a road, offered cash payments and gifts to project officials to expedite invoice payments, which is a corrupt practice.
The Ghana Transport Sector Project, which closed in 2018, was designed to improve mobility of goods and passengers and improve road safety standards in Ghana.
According to the facts of the case, SAI, which had a contract to supervise road construction, offered cash payments and gifts to project officials to expedite invoice payments, which is a corrupt practice, noted World Bank.