By John Oyuke
The World Bank has blacklisted Oxford University Press (OUP) subsidiaries in Kenya and Tanzania for three years for bribing Government officials in relation to two education projects funded by the global development lender in East Africa.
A settlement between the World Bank and OUP, which the Bank said had acknowledged the “improper misconduct,” includes a restitution payment of Sh42 million ($500,000).
The barred subsidiaries are Oxford University Press East Africa Limited and Oxford University Press Tanzania Ltd.
“The two firms made improper payments to Government officials for two contracts to supply text books in relation to two World Bank-financed projects,” Leonard McCarthy, World Bank integrity vice-president said in a statement.
The blacklisting is part of a negotiated resolution between OUP and the Bank.
In May last year, investigators from the World Bank’s Integrity Vice Presidency (INT) approached OUP about potential misconduct.
OUP conducted an internal investigation into its operations and reported its findings.
McCarthy said 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.
“In this case, working with the Serious Fraud Office also demonstrates the scope of collective action in deterring corruption impacting the progress of development,” he said.
The World Bank spends billions of dollars annually on development projects in some of the world’s poorest countries to eradicate poverty.