World Bank, AfDB blacklist more firms, consultants in Nigeria for corruption

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The World Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB) have sanctioned and blacklisted more companies and consultants operating in Nigeria for various breaches of their contracting processes considered fraudulent and corrupt.

Similar sanctions were issued to several contracting firms and individual consultants in other jurisdictions around the world.

The latest culprits exclude the six Chinese firms earlier reported exclusively by this newspapers on Monday to have similarly been blacklisted by the World Bank for fraud and corruption.

The affected Chinese companies in Nigeria include China Railway Construction (International) Nigeria Company Limited, China Railway 18th Bureau Nigeria Engineering Company Limited, CCECC Nigeria Lekki (FTA) Company Limited, CCECC Nigeria Railway Company Limited, CRCC Petroleum & Gas Company Limited, and CCECC Nigeria Company Limited.

These companies are big players in various sectors of the Nigerian economy. They are handlers of ongoing or completed multi-billion Naira contracts for the construction of railway systems, highways, housing estates, airport terminals, municipal engineering, water resources, and hydro-power engineering projects in the country for federal and state governments.

They were debarred and declared ineligible to be awarded any World Bank-financed contracts for at least a year, between June 4, 2019 and March 3, 2020.

The latest list of companies and individual consultants are among those in the August 16 updated publication by the World Bank on its website of companies and individuals found to have violated the bank’s policy.

Some of the companies and consultants were accused of violating the provisions of the guidelines for the selection and employment of consultants under International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) loans and the International Development Association (IDA) credits and grants by World Bank borrowers.

Others were sanctioned for infractions of the policy as spelt out in the Procurement Guidelines and the World Bank Procurement Regulations for Investment Project Financing Borrowers for projects after July 1, 2016.

Among the companies and individuals are those currently serving various terms of sanctions expected to terminate at various times till 2023 or 2024.

They include Idemia Nigeria Limited (Formerly Oberthur Technologies Nigeria Limited), with RC No, 677257 and offices in Lekki and Lagos; Best Scan Solutions Limited, with office in 10, Obanle Aro Avenue, Ilupeju, Lagos; Quick Projects Limited of 19, Allen Avenue, Lagos, and Marabef Global Limited, with offices in Abuja and Abia State.

Others include Lutoyilex Construct Limited of Gwarimpa, Abuja; Efemaz Construction & General Services Limited, with offices in Abuja and Delta State; Oceanic Construction & Engineering Nigeria Limited of 1133 Aminu Kano Crescent Wuse 11, Abuja, and Snc-Lavalin International (Nigeria) Limited, with office at 35 Moloney Street, Lagos.

The list also includes Emmajoko Nigeria Enterprises of No. 4 Onyemekaiha Close, Warri, Delta State; Rojoke Cne Services Limited and Cne Environmental & Waste Services Ltd, booth of No. 2, Pinto Avenue, Gana Sapele, Delta State, and Sharda Impex (U.K.) Limited of Lagos.

Also, a Kano-based company, Shereena Agriculture Limited; Contransimex Nigeria Limited of 8, Adekunle Fajuyi Way, Ikeja; Sego Ventures Nigeria Limited of 17b Canery Drive, MKO Abiola Gardens, Ikeja, and D.A. Construction Limited of No. 1,114 Road, 1st Avenue, Gwarinpa, Abuja.

Individual consultants sanctioned

The individual consultants on the list include Victor Dike of 19 Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos; Iyke Ambrose of 10 Obanle Aro Avenue, Off Coker Road, Ilupeju, Lagos; Patrick Alozie Onwuka, with addresses in Garki, Abuja and Aba, Abia State, and Bamidele Obiniyi of Suite 295, Soar Plaza, 1st Avenue, Gwarimpa Abuja.

The others are Henry Chinedu Ojoko (the Proprietor, Emmajoko Nigeria Enterprises) of No. 4 Onyemekaiha Close, Warri, Delta State; Benson Ojoko, Project Coordinator, Delta State Employment agency in Asaba; Robinson Ekenedilichukwu Ojoko of No. 2, Pinto Avenue, Gana Sapele, Delta State, and Kamal Sharda of Lagos.

Those said to have violated procurement Guidelines 1.16a(i) are those accused of engaging in “corrupt practice” by either offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting, directly or indirectly, anything of value to improperly influence the actions of another party.

Those accused of “collusive practice” are those found to have colluded between two or more parties to achieve an improper purpose, including to influence improperly the actions of another party.

Those in this category include Idemia Nigeria Limited, which was blacklisted for the period between November 29, 2017 and May 28, 2020; Efemaz Construction & General Services Limited and Efe Michael Udumebraye, both debarred for four years between December 13, 2018 and December 12, 2022.

Also in that category are Rojoke Cne Services Limited, Cne Environmental & Waste Services Limited, and Robinson Ekenedilichukwu Ojoko, all debarred for the period between February 5, 2019 and February 4, 2024.

Those sanctioned for violating Paragraph 1.22(A)(V) (Aa) of the October 2006 and May 2010 Consultant Guidelines are those whose Request for proposals and the proposals were prepared in languages other than the national language of the Borrower approved by the Bank.

Those affected include Victor Dike (debarred for two years between April 23, 2018 and November 22, 2020), Best Scan Solutions Limited (January 24, 2017 and January 23, 2021), Iyke Ambrose (January 24, 2017 and January 23, 2021), and Quick Projects Limited (April 23, 2018 and November 22, 2021).

Violators of Procurement Guidelines 1.14(a)(i) are companies accused of “mis-procurement”, by providing services for which the contract was not awarded in accordance with the agreed provisions of the Loan Agreement with the bank.

Those affected include Marabef Global Limited (blacklisted for the period between January 11,-2018 and January 10, 2022), Patrick Alozie Onwuka (debarred January 11, 2018 January 10, 2022), Contransimex Nigeria Limited, Sego Ventures Nigeria Limited and D.A. Construction Limited, all currently serving various subsisting sanctions.

For consultants that violated the Procurement Guidelines 1.23(a)(i), the World Bank said they were engaged in “corrupt practices” earlier defined in this report.

Those involved included Emmajoko Nigeria Enterprises and its proprietor, Henry Chinedu Ojoko, and Benson Ojoko (all debarred from World Bank contracts effective January 29, 2019 till January 28, 2024).

Besides, violators of Guidelines 1.15(a)(i) & (ii) were accused of issuing References to the Bank considered not in line stipulated standard, which suggested suspicious intentions towards fraud and corruption.

The World Bank report listed the culprits to include Snc-Lavalin International (Nigeria) Limited debarred for ten years (April 17, 2013 and April 17, 2023).

For Gurpreet Singh Malik, Kamal Sharda, Karitex Limited, Sharda Impex (U.K.) Limited and Karitex Limited, they all received permanent debarments from the World Bank since February 2000.

Two of the companies, Lutoyilex Construct Limited and Oceanic Construction & Engineering Nigeria Limited as well as a consultant, Bamidele Obiniyi, received cross debarment sanctions from the World Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB) between July 31, 2019 and May 13, 2022.

Cross-Debarment is a practice where firms and individuals debarred by one multilateral development bank (MDB) may be sanctioned, for the same misconduct, by other MDBs participating in the regime.

The World Bank said the period of ineligibility imposed on each of the defaulting companies and individual consultants extends to any legal entity they may control directly or indirectly.

According to the World Bank, the minimum period of ineligibility covers about three-years, provided the companies and individuals demonstrate to the Bank Group’s Integrity Compliance Officer sufficient readiness to take remedial measures to address offences as well as establish effective integrity compliance programme acceptable to the Bank.

A senior official of the World Bank who requested that his identity should not be revealed told our reporter the sanctions to the companies and individuals followed due process, as they were all granted the opportunity to defend themselves before World Bank Group’s Integrity Compliance Department.

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