World Bank debars Veolia companies for fraudulent bidding in Colombia

The World Bank has debarred two subsidiaries of French water engineering company Veolia for fraudulent and collusive practices in bidding for work on a $487m river improvement scheme in Bogotá, Colombia.

French water engineering company OTV is banned from World Bank-funded projects for two years, while Brazilian water technology company Veolia Water Technologies Brasil (VWT) is banned for one year.

The bank said OTV engaged in fraudulent practices by failing to disclose fees paid to commercial agents during the tender prequalification and bidding processes. These agents assisted the company in obtaining confidential information.

OTV and VWT Brasil further worked with one of these agents in an attempt to influence the tendering requirements, engaging in collusive practices prohibited by the World Bank’s procurement guidelines.

The contract went to another bidder, and neither OTV nor VWT Brasil took part in the project.

Both debarments were part of settlement agreements under which the companies acknowledged responsibility and agreed to meet compliance conditions as a condition for release from debarment.

The debarment of OTV qualifies for cross-debarment by other multilateral development banks.

The Río Bogotá Environmental Recuperation and Flood Control Project was designed to improve water quality, cut flood risks, and create multi-functional areas along the Bogotá River.

Image: The Río Bogotá (EEIM/CC BY-SA 4.0)

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