World bank sanctions Systra subsidiary SAI for corrupt practices in Africa

The World Bank last week sanctioned India-based SAI Consulting Engineering Ltd, 65% owned by France’s Systra, for offering cash and gifts to expedite invoice payments at three infrastructure projects in Tanzania, Mozambique and Ghana.

Systra voluntarily disclosed SAI’s corrupt practices to the World Bank Group’s Integrity Vice Presidency, which led to a lighter penalty.

SAI was sanctioned for 24 months with conditional non-debarment, which means it can still bid for World Bank-financed projects as long as it complies with corporate compliance obligations laid out in the settlement agreement.

Systra acquired 65% of SAI in 2014. 

In Tanzania, SAI had contracts to build and manage several border posts under a World Bank scheme that closed in 2015, and offered cash payment vouchers and gifts to project officials to expedite invoice payments, which is a corrupt practice, the World Bank said.

SAI did the same on the Mozambique Roads and Bridges Management and Maintenance Project, which closed in 2007, where SAI had a contract to do engineering design for a road.

Similarly, the practice occurred on a road-construction supervision contract SAI had for the Ghana Transport Sector Project, which closed in 2018.

As a condition for release from sanction under the terms of the settlement agreement, SAI commits to developing an integrity compliance program consistent with the principles set out in the World Bank Group Integrity Compliance Guidelines. The company also commits to continue to fully cooperate with the World Bank Group Integrity Vice Presidency.

Image: ©GCR, illustration by Denis Carrier

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