MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) stepped up its fight against corruption in 2010 with the introduction of new initiatives, including revised integrity guidelines and a cross debarment agreement signed with development partners, a new report says.
The 2010 Annual Report issued by ADB's Office of Anticorruption and Integrity - which celebrated its first anniversary as an independent office last year - also highlighted ADB's support for developing member countries, with fraud and corruption detection training given to government agencies in several of ADB's developing member countries. Five procurement-related reviews were also carried out around the region to verify that ADB financing was being used for the intended purposes.
The report notes that since the signing of the cross debarment agreement in April 2010, ADB has notified partner development banks of sanctions imposed on four firms and 10 individuals found to have breached anticorruption policies. In turn, ADB cross-debarred six firms and two individuals sanctioned by the World Bank. A new, secure internet portal was also set up last year to give government officials of ADB's developing member countries access to ADB's full list of sanctioned groups and individuals.
In 2010 ADB introduced comprehensive whistleblower and witness protection procedures to protect staff and to some extent third parties who report instances of suspected fraud and corruption in ADB projects. A mandatory staff training course on anticorruption was also introduced concurrently.
"These are serious steps we have taken to help reduce fraud, raise awareness about potential irregularities in project implementation, and to increase understanding of ADB's anticorruption efforts," said Peter E. Pedersen, Head of ADB's Office of Anticorruption and Integrity.
With the implementation of the cross debarment agreement, the total number of debarments issued by ADB is expected to rise this year. In 2010, ADB's Office of Anticorruption and Integrity received 188 new complaints, with 99 of them turned into full investigations. Thirty-seven firms and 47 individuals were sanctioned by ADB in 2010. Since 1998, ADB has sanctioned 376 firms and 380 individuals. With improved investigative methods, case management, and review processes, the time taken to complete investigations is expected to be reduced in future, the report says.
In 2011, the office expects to continue anticorruption training assistance in at least two countries, to carry out more project procurement reviews, and to scale up ADB staff training with the introduction of online anticorruption courses.