MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) imposed sanctions on 41 firms and 38 individuals last year as a result of its corruption investigations, according to a new report by ADB's Office of the Auditor General, Integrity Division (OAGI). This makes a total of 552 firms and individuals banned from working for ADB since it began investigating corruption allegations in 1998.
OAGI, as the focal point of ADB's anticorruption drive, received 186 complaints in 2008, which resulted in 89 investigations. It investigated matters ranging from a medical-benefit fraud case by a former staff member involving less than US$100 to alleged collusion in bidding for a road construction project worth more than $10 million.
According to the report, 74% of the cases investigated involved ADB-financed activities, while 18% involved ADB staff members. The remainder involved sanction violations and conflicts of interest. The firms that were sanctioned as a result of the investigations are prohibited from doing business with ADB for up to seven years, while sanctions against individuals range from one year to an indefinite period. Cases involving ADB staff members resulted in eight recommendations leading to disciplinary procedures against those concerned, and enhancing operational procedures and practices.
ADB does not publish the list of firms and individuals that have been investigated or sanctioned from doing business with the institution, although it shares the list with ADB staff, other international organizations, and others with a need to know.
The process through which ADB imposes sanctions is administrative, not a legal or juridical assessment of fraudulent or corrupt practices. "ADB continues to enforce its anticorruption policy vigorously," said Mr. Philip Daltrop, Auditor General. "We investigate all allegations as quickly as possible and sanction both firms and individuals where this is justified by the findings of the investigations. As part of our investigations, we always seek explanations from those accused of wrongdoing."
In addition to investigating allegations of corruption, ADB actively audits its projects to identify indicators of fraudulent and corrupt activity in ADB-financed projects, and make project management improvements and recommendations for the remainder of a project's life. ADB also assists its developing member countries in their fight against corruption by strengthening integrity institutions, improving public management systems and procedures, developing institutional and individual capacities, and increasing awareness in the region.