OAI Conducts Anticorruption Seminars to Private Sector Partners in Viet Nam
Over 100 consultants, contractors, suppliers, and NGOs attended seminars on 21 May in Ha Noi and 27 May in Ho Chi Minh City on requirements of ADB's Anticorruption Policy.
ADB Helps Strengthen Philippine COA's Skills
The Office of Anticorruption and Integrity shared its knowledge on fraud prevention and detection techniques with over 50 auditors of the Commission on Audit in a forensic accounting workshop on 15-17 May in ADB headquarters. In her keynote address, Assistant Commissioner Luz Tolentino thanked ADB for strengthening COA's capacity and technical expertise, and encouraged participants to pass on the knowledge to other auditors.
ADB’s Office of Anticorruption and Integrity Leads Anticorruption Seminars in Afghanistan
ADB’s Office of Anticorruption and Integrity (OAI) and Central and West Asia Department jointly held a series of anticorruption seminars in Afghanistan aimed at raising awareness of corruption issues among the country’s government staff and other stakeholders.
The seminars, held from 23 to 30 April 2013, were designed to enhance the staff’s anticorruption skills, such as detecting and avoiding fraud, corruption, coercion, and collusion in ADB-funded activities. Participants came from the ministries of public works, finance, agriculture, irrigation and livestock, energy and water, rural rehabilitation and development, and Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat, the national power utility.
The 27 April seminar was opened by Minister of Mines Wahidullah Shahrani, who said “after terrorism, the biggest threat to Afghanistan is corruption.” He encouraged a partnership between ADB and the government to address the serious risks current corruption trends posed for Afghans.
OAI also briefed representatives of consulting and contracting firms and civil society organizations to raise awareness of ADB’s Anticorruption Policy.
On 1 May 2013, Afghanistan endorsed the ADB/OECD Anticorruption Initiative for Asia and the Pacific, reaffirming the country’s commitment to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime reports that in 2012, 50% of Afghan citizens paid bribes for public services, and that patronage and bribery are becoming increasingly embedded social practices in the country.
OAI also conducted an iACT briefing on 28 April for ADB’s Afghanistan Resident Mission. “iACT: I fight corruption” is ADB’s internal anticorruption campaign launched in December 2011. It recognizes that ADB staff form the front line in the fight against corruption.
The briefing provided information on ADB’s anticorruption framework and the role and responsibilities of staff and the OAI. In particular, the briefing highlighted ways in which Afghanistan Resident Mission staff and the OAI can collaborate in fighting fraud and corruption in Afghanistan projects.
ADB Toughens Anti-corruption Drive
ADB toughened measures to battle fraud and corruption in 2012, as complaints reached a new high. Read the report and news release.
ADB's Anticorruption Efforts in Resident Missions
Field offices play a key role in implementing ADB's anticorruption policy and in raising awareness of integrity issues among project staff, civil society, and the private sector. ADB has 29 resident missions and three representative offices in Tokyo, Frankfurt, and Washington, DC.
Staff in field offices are at the frontline of ADB's work, engaging on a daily basis with development partners and project stakeholders. As such, they are best placed to serve as ambassadors for ADB's anticorruption policy, spot red flags of fraud and corruption, and impose immediate corrective and preventive measures.
ADB's Office of Anticorruption and Integrity (OAI) emphasizes the importance of working together with field offices to minimize corruption and fraud in ADB-funded projects.
From 2010 to 2012, OAI conducted 20 training and briefing sessions for resident missions. Project officers and analysts in resident missions joined and assisted in anti-corruption seminars conducted for the project executing and implementing agencies, contractors, and consultants.
In 2006-2012, OAI worked closely with resident mission staff from Cambodia, Viet Nam, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Mongolia in the detailed review of project procurement documents and in assessing compliance with ADB's policies, guidelines, and loan and grant agreements.
Today, resident mission staff are better equipped to review and validate bid evaluation reports, and identify and develop preventive measures to mitigate fiduciary risks and opportunities before fraud, corruption, or abuse of resources occur in ADB-financed projects. Ultimately, this leads to improved project supervision.
In 2010-2012, OAI received 85 complaints from resident mission staff, mostly related to fraudulent, corrupt, and collusive practices in ADB-finance projects. Resident mission staff referred 30% more cases in 2012 than in 2011, and 52% more compared with 2010.
To celebrate International Anticorruption Day, ADB launched the iACT in 2010 as an annual event to highlight the role and professional obligation of each ADB staff to prevent fraud and corruption. In 2013, iACT focused on the roles and responsibilities of field offices in the fight against corruption.
Anticorruption Workshops: Achieving Our Targets
In March 2008, OAI received a Regional Technical Assistance budget of $480,000 to conduct one-day workshops designed to raise awareness of staff, officials, consultants, beneficiaries and other stakeholders in six to nine ADB projects. Four years later, OAI has conducted training for over 550 staff and counterparts of 34 projects through 28 workshops held in Papua New Guinea, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Nepal, Kyrgyzstan, Sri Lanka and Bhutan. Additional briefings have been conducted in India, Vietnam and Cambodia, on a more limited scale.
"It is tremendous that fighting corruption is now seen as an ADB-wide endeavor," stated OAI Director, Clare Wee. "As ADB and project staff are becoming more aware, they are reporting irregularities to us and are avoiding awarding contracts to companies who misrepresent themselves in proposals." Even the quality of complaints are improving, she said.
OAI found economies of scale in targeting all ADB-funded activities in countries during a training trip, scheduling full-day, interactive workshops for all project staff. OAI developed a package of training materials drawn from its own investigations and used case studies and examples from different sectors and different countries to increase interest and engage participants.
Over 95% of participants reporting that the workshops were useful, particularly in strengthening knowledge, skills and improving attitudes needed to address integrity issues in ADB-funded programs. Participants also said that such workshops should be scheduled at the start of projects and could be incorporated into procurement training, as procurement activities provide primary opportunities to access funds through corruption, collusion, coercion or fraud.
"This kind of program would be useful for all agencies funded by ADB. ADB should explore the possibility of extending this kind of training to all projects." - Comment from a participant in Bhutan workshop, June 2012.
Participants frequently respond that the workshops should be longer in duration and allow for more hands-on exploration of actual cases. OAI recently introduced a procurement-based example to demonstrate how, where, and why misrepresentations may occur in resumes, expressions of interest for consulting contracts and prequalification applications, which met with participant favor. Of greatest interest, however, is the desk-based due diligence example demonstrated in the workshops, which shows participants how they may learn more about potential contractors and consultants before engaging them.
OAI plans to spend the remaining RETA funds in 2012/13 and will program more so that integrity trainings may continue. Project Officers and Country Directors interested in scheduling their projects for RETA coverage may contact (OAI) Genevieve Abel, x4027, to schedule anticorruption workshops.
Collective Effort Strengthens ADB Video, Photo and Multimedia Contract Procedure
In light of the numerous complaints received by OAI on ADB video production contracts, streamlined procedures were created in cooperation with the Office of Administrative Services, Central Operations Services Office and Department of External Relations to better allocate the use of ADB resources. Effective 25 June 2012, the following changes in the video, photo and multimedia contract procedures include:
1. Firms and individuals providing video, photo and multimedia production services are referred to as “service providers” as set forth under Administrative Order No. 4.07, not consultants.
2. All contracts for VPM services and products will be procured through OAS, upon request and endorsement by the Department of External Relations. The Central Operations Services Office will not administer contracts for VPM products and services.
3. Contractors may not undertake any work without a properly signed contract.
4. Existing OAS procedures and guidelines for the engagement of VPM services will be maintained, consistent with paragraph 5 of Appendix 1 of AO 4.07. OAS evaluates the total bid price and manages, and DER conducts the technical evaluation.