On February 25, 2015, the World Bank lifted its debarment of Alstom SA. The company had been debarred after it was discovered it had made improper payments for consultant services to an entity controlled by a former senior government official on a World Bank-finance project in Zambia in 2002. The terms of the debarment required Alstom subsidiaries, Alstom Hydro France and Alstom Network Schweiz AG, to pay $9.5 million in restitution and prohibited these entities from bidding on World Bank contracts for up to three years. If these subsidiaries complied with the terms of the agreement with the World Bank, they would be eligible to compete for contracts again in 21 months. 24 months later, following Alstom’s fulfillment of the terms of the agreement, the World Bank lifted its debarment.
While the World Bank does not have the long history of a developed suspension and debarment regime similar to that of the United States, the World Bank has been progressively more aggressive in this area. Part I of this blog post discusses the World Bank’s system for suspensions and debarments. Part II discusses the collateral consequences of a World Bank debarment.
What is the World Bank’s debarment process?
In many ways, the World Bank’s debarment process is similar to the United States’ system. There are three structural levels to the World Bank’s system: the Integrity Vice President (“INT”), the Evaluation Officer, and the Sanctions Board. The Integrity Vice President refers matters to the Evaluation Officer. The Evaluation Officer makes a determination regarding the adequacy of the matter for a sanction under the World Bank’s rules. The Sanctions Board reviews the case if a contractor decides to appeal the Evaluation Officer’s determination. Continue Reading