MANILA, PHILIPPINES - Some 225 allegations of corruption or integrity violations were submitted to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) last year, leading to 34 individuals and 31 firms being debarred from doing business with the organization, a new report shows.

Twelve individuals and 37 firms were cross-debarred in accordance with an agreement signed with other multilateral development banks. Seven firms and six individuals were submitted by ADB to other multilateral development banks for cross-debarment. More than half of all complaints were submitted by ADB staff.

"Our achievements are not measured in warnings or debarments. They are seen in the delivery of desired results and streamlined services that benefit the poor of Asia and the Pacific," said Peter E. Pedersen, Head, of ADB's Office of Anticorruption and Integrity (OAI), which is responsible for investigating allegations of fraud, corruption, collusion, coercion or obstruction in ADB-related activities. "To the extent debarments help us to mitigate the negative impacts of fraud and corruption in ADB financed projects, then these numbers are important."

The findings of integrity investigations are delivered to ADB's Integrity Oversight Committee (IOC) for possible sanction.

The 2011 OAI Annual Report noted an increase in the number of subscribers to ADB's password-secured debarment database, with more than 45 developing member country agencies and 13 development institutions requesting database access. Access increases these agencies' ability to conduct due diligence before awarding contracts on ADB projects and prevents contracts from inadvertently being awarded to debarred firms or individuals.

In 2011, OAI introduced a series of due diligence training courses for ADB staff, emphasizing the importance of preventive measures to reduce poor contract performance and waste of critical development funds.

OAI anticipates complaints will continue to increase in number, complexity and sensitivity, requiring sophisticated investigative techniques. Procedures related to investigations, as well as principles and guidelines governing integrity, will be updated in 2012.

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