Subject to a settlement agreement, the African Development Bank Group on Monday announced the temporary suspension of Burmeister & Wain for 21 months, for engaging in sharp practices in a power generation project financed by the Bank in Mauritius.
The Scandinavian contracting firm had in 2014 and 2015 participated in tenders for the re-development of the Saint Louis power plant in Mauritius, a project financed by the bank.
An investigation conducted by the bank’s Office of Integrity and Anti-Corruption has concluded that it is more likely than not that the company engaged in corrupt practices in the context of the project.
Evidence supports a finding that Burmeister & Wain, on a balance of probabilities, financially rewarded members of the Mauritian administration and others through of third parties, for providing access to confidential tender-related information which allowed them to tailor the technical specifications of the tenders to its offering, thus gaining an undue competitive advantage over other tenderers.
Burmeister & Wain further concealed the arrangements it had entered into with the third parties, in breach of the rules governing the tenders.
The suspension imposed by the bank renders Burmeister & Wain ineligible to participate in AfDB-financed projects and thus to benefit from its financing during the debarment period. The 21 months debarment qualifies for cross-debarment by other multilateral development banks pursuant to the Agreement for Mutual Enforcement of Debarment Decisions.
According to this agreement, debarments longer than 12 months pronounced by any of its signatories, including the AfDB, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank Group, are recognised and imposed in the same way by its other signatories.
By imposing a debarment of 21 months, the Office of Integrity and Anti-Corruption recognises Burmeister and Wain’s extensive cooperation with the investigation, the company’s transparency in dealing with the sanctionable conduct and the efforts that it has made to enhance its integrity compliance programme since uncovering the sanctionable practices.
The bank will release Burmeister & Wain from debarment at the expiry of the debarment period, subject to a successful review and clearance of the company’s enhanced integrity compliance program by the bank.