World Bank debars Vietnamese contractor over ‘misleading statements’

Projects undertaken in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang were involved in the case (South Photo /CC BY-SA 4.0)
The World Bank has debarred a Vietnamese construction firm from bidding for World Bank-funded contracts for the next 41 months.

The bank’s action against HTC Construction and Advanced Technology (HTC) was taken in connection with “fraudulent and obstructive practices” on projects in Vietnam.

These included the bank’s Coastal Cities Environmental Sanitation Project, the Da Nang Priority Infrastructure Investment Project, the Medium Cities Development Project, and the Irrigated Agricultural Improvement Project.

The debarment was part of a settlement agreement under which the company acknowledged responsibility and agreed to meet specified compliance conditions as a condition for release from debarment.

According to the bank, HTC misrepresented its financial statements and inflated the values of its past contracts in order to mislead procurement officials.

Furthermore, HTC consistently denied the applicability of the World Bank’s inspection and audit rights and refused to provide its investigations department with evidence, thereby materially impeding the investigation.

The settlement agreement provides for a reduced period of debarment in light of the company’s admission of wrongdoing and voluntary restraint from bidding on World Bank projects.

As a condition for release from sanction, HTC commits to implementing integrity compliance measures that reflect the principles set out in the World Bank’s guidelines. In addition, any affiliate that the company controls, directly or indirectly, will be required to implement appropriate integrity compliance measures. The company also commits to continue to cooperate with bank investigations in the future.

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