MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Office of Anticorruption and Integrity (OAI) boosted due diligence reviews in 2014 as part of an expanded push for preventive and proactive measures to counter corruption, a new report says.
The OAI’s 2014 Annual Report shows a sharp rise in requests to carry out integrity due diligence reviews—with the number of referrals up 73% from 2013. OAI’s integrity due diligence advisory function, now in its third year, emerged due to a rise in ADB’s equity investments, lending, and development initiatives involving the private sector, and an increased need for ADB to evaluate and minimize integrity and reputational risks in dealings with other entities.
“Detecting and preventing corruption beforehand is preferable to dealing with it after the fact,” said OAI Head Clare Wee. “However, investigations and related remedial actions, debarments and cross debarments will remain a mainstay and continue to be an essential feature of ADB’s holistic approach for fighting corruption.”
The number of new complaints for integrity violations, such as collusion or conflict of interest, in 2014 dipped slightly to 241 from the record level of 250 set the year before, with fraud allegations the dominant area of concern. Total complaints converted into investigations dropped to 84 from 92 in 2013, partly as a result of a more robust screening process, according to the report.
As a result of its investigations, ADB sanctioned 18 firms and 22 individuals and cross-debarred an additional 60 firms and 39 individuals, in line with its cross debarment agreement with four other multilateral development banks.
OAI carried out four project procurement-related reviews in 2014 to identify irregularities in procurement activities, disbursement of funds and delivery of outputs in ADB projects. These reviews are a vital tool for ADB to identify project vulnerabilities and recommend measures to safeguard resources.
In 2015, OAI expects to see further strong demand for staff training and due diligence services, and will work closely with other departments to introduce more stringent vetting on loans and investments, including those involving concessional cofinanciers, non-government entities, and financial intermediaries. It will also begin reporting on the value of contracts implicated in OAI investigations as a tool for quantifying the costs of integrity violations to ADB.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region.