Fraudulent Practice: The Respondent Firm was found to have failed to disclose commissions paid to its agents, as required by the bidding documents.
Corrupt Practice: The Respondent Firm was found to have promised or paid its agents sums of money to influence government officials involved in awarding contracts.
The Respondent Firm (“Respondent”) participated in multiple bidding processes under the Innovation in School Infrastructure Program in Panama (the “Program”) and was awarded two construction contracts. The Office of Institutional Integrity (“OII”) submitted a Statement of Charges and Evidence against the Respondent for allegedly engaging in fraudulent and corrupt practices related to the Program. OII specific accusation was that the Respondent presented false financial background information to satisfy the bidding requirements for construction contracts under the Program. In addition, OII argued that the Respondent knowingly failed to disclose commissions paid to its agents for their assistance in proposal preparation. OII also alleged that the Respondent promised or paid its agents sums of money to influence government officials involved in awarding the contracts. Consequently, and in accordance with the Sanctions Procedures, the Sanctions Officer (“SO”) issued a Notice of Administrative Action (“Notice”) to the Respondent. In the Response to the Notice, the Respondent denied the allegations presented by OII.
The SO determined there was insufficient evidence to find, under the preponderance of evidence, that the Respondent misrepresented its financial position in its bid. In addition, the SO determined that it was more likely than not that the Respondent knowingly failed to disclose commissions paid to its agents and engaged in corrupt practices. As a result, the SO imposed a sanction of debarment for a period of seven (7) years, during which time the Respondent will be ineligible to participate or be awarded contracts for projects or activities financed by the Bank Group. In determining the sanction, the SO took into account, as aggravating factors, the Respondent’s repeated pattern of conduct and the involvement of public officials in the corrupt practice.
The Respondent did not appeal the SO’s Determination to the Sanctions Committee during the prescribed appeal period. In accordance with the Sanctions Procedures, the imposed sanction entered into force and the Bank provided notice of this declaration of ineligibility to the other Multilateral Development Banks that are a party to the Agreement for Mutual Enforcement of Debarment Decisions.