The Sanctions Officer (SO) is the first decision maker of the Sanction System’s two-tier adjudication phase. The SO decides cases related to prohibited practices committed within the context of IDB Group operations. The Office of Institutional Integrity (OII) files these cases by submitting a statement of charges and evidence. The statement of charges and evidence outlines both the chain of events as well as OII’s reasoning of why the actions or omissions of a Respondent (either a firm or an individual) constitute a prohibited practice. In a Determination, the SO issues a decision explaining whether the preponderance of evidence supports the allegation that the Respondent engaged in a prohibited practice.
The Inter-American Development Bank’s Sanctions Procedures govern the proceedings and the Determinations issued by the SO. The SO evaluates each case’s merits based on the sufficiency of the evidence presented by OII and the Respondent during the proceedings. If the SO finds that it is more likely than not that the Respondent engaged in a prohibited practice, the SO imposes a sanction. If not, the SO dismisses the allegations and terminates the proceedings. Respondents can appeal the SO’s Determination before the Sanctions Committee.
The SO is also responsible for evaluating whether a case is eligible for a negotiated resolution agreement between OII and an investigated party. The SO establishes the requirements for negotiation to be considered by OII, including the applicable range of sanctions and the conditions for a release from a sanction. After the SO's evaluation, negotiated resolution agreements are initiated and conducted by OII.
Further, the SO can temporarily suspend a Respondent from participating in Bank-financed operations when OII submits a request based on potential risk, pending the finalization of an investigation or the corresponding sanctions proceedings.
Finally, the SO supervises the implementation of conditions imposed on sanctioned entities as part of a negotiated resolution agreement or sanctions proceeding. These conditions can include the implementation of compliance programs.
When OII finds that a Respondent has engaged in a prohibited practice, they will submit a statement of charges and evidence to the SO. The SO evaluates the evidence presented by OII and will issue a Notice of Administrative Action (Notice) against the Respondent if the evidence shows that it is more likely than not that a Respondent has engaged in a prohibited practice. The primary purpose of this Notice is to inform the Respondent that the administrative sanctions proceeding has begun, and to provide the Respondent the opportunity to respond to OII’s submission and evidence.
In response to the Notice, the Respondent can present written submissions to the SO, including arguments and evidence. The SO may request additional materials or evidence from OII or from the Respondent. Finally, the SO assesses all submissions and issues a Determination.
If the SO finds that it is more likely than not that the Respondent engaged in a prohibited practice, the SO issues a Determination imposing a sanction. Conversely, if the SO finds that a preponderance of the evidence does not support the finding that the Respondent engaged in a prohibited practice, the SO issues a Determination dismissing the OII’s allegations and terminating the proceedings.
Respondents can appeal the Determination issued by the SO imposing sanctions against them before the Sanctions Committee, provided that the Respondents submitted a Response to the Notice during the period established in the Sanctions Procedures.
The Sanctions Officer may impose, among others, one or multiple of the following sanctions:
Formal letter of censure of the conduct.
Ineligibility to be awarded and/or participate in contracts related to Bank-financed projects for a determined period.
Request to comply with certain measures to avoid debarment.
Debarment subject to compliance with certain conditions upon which the sanctioned party may be released.
For more information, see Section 8.2 of the Sanctions Procedures.
Sanctions imposed by the Sanctions Officer can be recognized by other Multilateral Development Banks in accordance with the Agreement for Mutual Enforcement of Debarment Decisions.
The IDB Group has established mechanisms to ensure the integrity of its projects, and to guarantee that violators receive a sanction proportional to the infraction, after having had the opportunity to present their defenses.
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