The World Bank Group has announced the debarment of two wholly-owned subsidiaries of Oxford University Press (OUP), namely: Oxford University Press East Africa Limited (OUPEA) and Oxford University Press Tanzania Limited (OUPT) - for a period of three years following OUP’s acknowledgment of misconduct by its two subsidiaries in relation to two bank-financed education projects in East Africa.
The debarment is part of a negotiated resolution agreement between OUP and the World Bank Group.
A press statement issued by the World Bank yesterday said in May 2011, investigators from the bank’s Integrity Vice Presidency (INT) confronted OUP on the potential ongoing administrative misconduct in Africa and OUP went on to conduct an internal investigation into its operations and report to INT.
“This debarment is testimony to the bank’s continued commitment to protecting the integrity of its projects.
OUP’s acknowledgment of misconduct and the thoroughness of its investigation is evidence of how companies can address issues of fraud and corruption and change their corporate practices to foster integrity in the development business,” said Leonard McCarthy, World Bank Integrity Vice President.
The president is of the view that “…working with the Serious Fraud Office also demonstrates the scope of collective action in deterring corruption impacting the progress of development…”
As a result, the Tanzania and the East Africa Oxford University Press offices will be debarred for three years while Oxford University Press itself will receive a conditional non-debarment motion.
The two firm made improper payments to government officials for two contracts to supply text books in relation to two World Bank-financed projects. As a result, OUPEA and OUPT will be debarred for three years and OUP will receive a conditional non-debarment.
In addition, in order to remedy part of the harm done by the misconduct, OUP has agreed to make a payment of USD500,000 as part of the negotiated resolution.
Under the Agreement, OUP and its related undertakings, including OUPEA and OUPT, commit to cooperate with the World Bank’s Integrity Vice Presidency to improve their internal compliance programme.
The debarment of OUPEA and OUPT qualifies for cross-debarment by other MDBs under the Agreement of Mutual Recognition of Debarments that was signed on April 9, 2010.
The World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency (INT) is responsible for preventing, deterring and investigating allegations of fraud, collusion and corruption in World Bank projects, capitalising on the experience of a multilingual and highly specialized team of investigators and forensic accountants, the statement said.