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AfDB and EBRD to Launch Assessment of Tunisia’s Public Procurement System


AllAfrica

April 23, 2013

The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) are jointly organizing the North Africa and Southern Eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) Regional Public procurement Conference on Morocco on April 22-23 in Marrakesh, Morocco to launch a report on the assessment of the public procurement system of Tunisia.

The conference, which will provide Tunisia an action plan to improve its public procurement system will include discussions on public procurement initiatives, reforms and assessments in Egypt, Jordan, Mauritania and Morocco.

Key Speakers at the conference will include experts and representatives from the AfDB, EBRD, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the European Union Delegation to Ukraine.

The AfDB collaborated with the World Bank, the European Union and the Tunisian Government to complete the assessment of Tunisia’s public procurement system in 2012, as part of the Bank’s efforts to promote sound and efficient business practices in Africa.

World Bank Bars Two Oxford University Press Subsidiaries From Contracts


Ventures

By Busayo

July 4th, 2012

VENTURES AFRICA – In order to enforce corporate integrity, two wholly-owned subsidiaries of Oxford University Press (OUP), Oxford University Press East Africa Limited (OUPEA) and Oxford University Press Tanzania Limited (OUPT), have been blacklisted from participating in World Bank projects and other agency projects which have an agreement with the World Bank like the African Development Bank.

In their place, Oxford’s archrivals Kenya Literature Bureau (KLB), Longhorn Kenya and state owned Jomo Kenyatta Foundation (JKF) are expected to be the major beneficiaries of the three-year ban.

According to the World Bank, the Kenyan and Tanzanian subsidiaries were blacklisted for irregular payments to government officials for two contracts to supply text books under programmes funded by the Bretton Woods institution.

Oxford East Africa was penalised and delisted by the World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency (INT) from the World Bank’s multi-billion shilling project for three years after it was linked in a bribery scandal with top government officials.

The publishing house parent company, Oxford University Press (OUP), was billed Sh292 million ($3.5 million) as part of the settlement.

Oxford’s debarment comes one year after donors pulled out of the $80 million (Sh6.7 billion) Kenya Education Sector Support Programme (KESSP) citing rampant fraud involving senior officials at the Ministry of Education.

The bribery scandal investigation that culminated in a penalties and sanctions started in May last year and closed early this year after establishing that the subsidiaries bribed government officials directly and through agents to win tenders and publishing contracts for textbooks.

Investigators found that Oxford East Africa was involved in widespread bribery that spanned five countries including Burundi, Malawi, Rwanda, Sudan and Uganda.

“This debarment is testimony to the bank’s continued commitment to protecting the integrity of its projects,” said Leonard McCarthy, the World Bank Integrity vice-president.

“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,” he added.

The World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency (INT) is responsible for preventing, deterring and investigating allegations of fraud, collusion and corruption in World Bank projects, capitalizing on the experience of a multilingual and highly specialized team of investigators and forensic accountants.

The Oxford University Press is to pay the World Bank $500,000 (Sh42 million) for flouting agreed procurement rules and additional £1.9 million (Sh250 million) to the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) for the same offences.
Oxford University Press voluntarily reported the bribery scandal to the World Bank and SFO on suspicion of the underhand dealings at its regional subsidiaries.

“We do not tolerate such behaviour,” said Nigel Portwood, Oxford’s chief executive adding that the company was committed to maintaining the highest ethical standards.

Oxford’s debarment follows a similar one on its rival Macmillan which was banned from bidding for world-bank funded contract till 2014 for bribery linked to an education project in Sudan. Macmillan was asked to pay Sh1.5 billion penalty to SFO after investigations revealed that it had bribed government officials in pursuit of public and World Bank-funded contracts in Africa.

In July last year, Macmillan paid a Sh1.5 billion ($18 million) penalty to SFO after investigations revealed that it had bribed government officials in pursuit of public and World Bank-funded contracts in Africa.

The publishing house was found to irregularly won tenders for the supply of text books to public schools in Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia between 2002 and 2009.

The publisher remains banned from bidding for World Bank–funded contracts up to mid-2014. After the scandal, Macmillan sold its Kenyan and Ugandan subsidiaries to veteran publisher David Muita for Sh300 million ($3.6 million).

Since 1970, foreign publishers like Thomas Nelson, Heinemann, and Longman have exited the Kenyan publishing market thereby creating more room for local publishers.

TIZ urges probe on blacklisted company’s Itezhi-tezhi contract


The Post Newspapers Zambia

By Kabanda Chulu & Bright Mukwasa
March 20th, 2012
TIZ has challenged the government to establish how a French company blacklisted by the World Bank for corruption got a contract to supply equipment worth K135 billion for the Itezhi-tezhi power project.

The World Bank has blacklisted and fined two subsidiaries of Alstom SA, a French engineering company, after the companies allegedly offered a K781 million bribe to an entity controlled by a former senior government official (not named) for consultancy services for a World Bank-financed power-rehabilitation project in Zambia in 2002.

The Alstom subsidiaries, Alstom Hydro France and Alstom Network Schweiz AG in Switzerland, will pay K50.1 billion in restitution and be blocked from bidding on World Bank contracts for up to three years.

Commenting on the matter yesterday, Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) president Reuben Lifuka said it was shocking that in 2011, the MMD government went ahead and awarded Alstom a contract to provide turbines and generators worth K135 billion for the 120-megawatt Itezhi-tezhi hydroelectric project.

“We wonder what sort of due diligence was done given the many investigations that this company and its subsidiaries are facing in a number of jurisdictions. It is absolutely necessary that a procurement audit of this particularly contract is conducted by government, with the involvement of all necessary law enforcement agencies, especially the Anti Corruption Commission. It is our expectation that the Zambian government, through the Zambia Public Procurement Authority, will equally blacklist this company from participating in any future contracts,” Lifuka said.

“We further demand that the Zambian government through the Anti Corruption Commission should immediately commence investigation against the former senior government official who received the bribe that has landed Alstom in this situation of debarment. Clearly, the action of the World Bank is a good beginning but the Zambian authorities should play their role and bring this official to book.”

He advised government to seize all proceeds of crime from the official in question in order as a deterrent to all public officers engaged in public procurements.

“It is time that as a country we do everything possible to bring to an end these criminal acts of corruption. The PF government should pursue all those that were involved in this case and bring them to book, regardless of their standing in society,” Lifuka said.

“We also demand that the World Bank clearly stipulates how the K50.1 billion restitution fee will be administered specifically for the Zambian situation. It is our considered opinion that these funds should go towards compensating Zambia for the damage caused by this act of corruption by the two Alstom subsidiaries. It is evident that the bribery paid out is a cost that the Zambian government has had to pay in terms of the loans obtained for the Zambia Power Rehabilitation Project.”

He further challenged the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the African Development Bank to equally apply the debarment measures against Alstom.

“We are aware that under the Zambia Power Rehabilitation Project, Alstom subsidiaries were involved in different aspects of the rehabilitation contracts for Victoria Falls Power Station, Kariba North Bank Power Station and Kafue Gorge Hydro Power Station and government obtained credit for this project from various funding entities, including the World Bank,
EIB, AfDB and Development Bank of Southern Africa. So it makes sense that all these entities effect the blacklisting of the two Alstom subsidiaries for the same misconduct,” said Lifuka.

UK must monitor aid for infrastructure more closely, report says


The Guardian

The UK government must do a better job of keeping track of the £412.9m channelled through multilateral development banks for infrastructure projects in the developing world, a parliamentary report said on Friday.

The Department for International Development is one the largest contributors to the EU, the World Bank and the African Development Bank for infrastructure spending, but the UK parliamentary international development committee expressed concern that DfID does not monitor spending as effectively as it could. Andrew Mitchell, the international development secretary, has pledged to get value for money for Britain’said budget, which was protected from cuts under last year’s spending review at a time of belt-tightening at home against a bleak economic backdrop.

The report is generally positive about DfID’s role. It praised the department’s innovative approach, particularly through its support of mechanisms such as the Public Private Infrastructure Advisory Facilitythat helps develop legal and regulatory frameworks to maximise the benefits to poorer groups. There is also praise for the Private Infrastructure Development Group, established by DfID to help stimulate investments from donorsRead more.

Nigeria, Cameroon in new hydrocarbons, human rights deal


The Nigeria-Cameroon border region on the coas...
Image via Wikipedia

Africa Report

By Konye Obaji Ori

July 27, 2011

Nigeria and Cameroon have drawn a draft agreement that seeks to protect human rights of their nationals and promote the exploitation of hydrocarbons along their border.

Nigirian President Goodluck Jonathan agreed at a recent Abuja meeting with Cameroonian Deputy Prime Minister Alhaji Amadou Ali that protection of human rights must be paramount.

“We (Nigeria) would set up a committee to consider the draft agreement,” Jonathan was quoted as having said.
Amadou Ali who represented Cameroon President Paul Biya at the meeting assured Jonathan that once the panel finished its work the document will be signed by both leaders.
The agreement was reached at the 23rd Session of the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission (CNMC).
CNMC is made up of officials from Cameroon led by Amadou Ali and those from Nigeria led by Prince Bola Ajibola.
Nigeria and Cameroon also agreed to jointly address security problems facing both countries.
The draft agreement on security will also integrate neighbouring countries such as Niger, Chad and Togo in Nigeria’s war on terror and cross-border crimes.The CNMC, which was established in November, 2002, oversaw the demilitarisation of militarised zones during the two countries’ battle for the control of the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula, as well as the reactivation of the Lake Chad Basin Commission. The commission is now set to tackle economic plans and protect human rights for both Nigerians and Cameroonians.
Since December 2002, the commission, with the support of several donors including the European Union and the African Development Bank, has reached agreements on various development programmes along the border.

Zimbabwe and AfDB Sign US$30 million Agreement to Improve Water Supply and Sanitation


Logo of the African Development Bank (AfDB), p...
Image via Wikipedia

The African Development Bank

10/06/2011

The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Zimbabwean government have signed a US $30 million grant agreement in support of the urgent water supply and sanitation rehabilitation project (UWSSRP) in the country.  The UWSSRP is financed from the Zimbabwe Multi-Donor Trust Fund (the Zim-Fund).

The agreement was signed on Friday June 10, 2011 in Lisbon, Portugal, by Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister, Tendai Biti and the AfDB’s Vice President for Operations, Aloysius Ordu.

The grant is further testimony to the strong commitment of the contributors to the Zim-Fund –  Australia, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the AfDB – to support the people of Zimbabwe.

Speaking during the signing, VP Ordu praised the Zimbabwe government for its ongoing economic reforms, which had borne positive results, with inflation in the low digits in 2010. He reaffirmed the Bank’s commitment to the success of the Zim-Fund and its objectives. He said: “We wish to thank all the partners contributing to this initiative and we look forward to partnering and implementing more projects to help ensure the continued and sustained recovery of the infrastructure sector, and further contributing to the social and economic development of Zimbabwe.  Dealing with Zimbabwe’s external debt, currently at US$ 8.8 billion, is key to unlocking major financial resources to support recovery.

Once implemented, the project will improve the state of the water and sanitation infrastructure in Harare, Masvingo, Mutare, Chegutu, Kwekwe and Chitungwiza, and benefit over 4.15 million people living in these cities.

Finance Minister Biti recognized the project as “essential and significant additional step” towards the restoration of basic services throughout his country. “The project will have real impact on men and women in the country,” he said. He also noted the need for his government to work towards the country’s arrears clearance as a significant step to accelerate the process of recovery.

The Zim-Fund was established in May 2010 and formally launched in Zimbabwe by the AfDB’s President, Donald Kaberuka, in March 2011.

Download the project appraisal report.

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