U.S. Sen. sees progress in banks anti-corruption fight

October 20, 2005
International development banks have made progress in fighting corruption in their organizations, the U.S. Senate sponsor of anti-corruption legislation said on Thursday.

Bank officials met this week in London and their talks helped efforts to adopt common approaches to transparency and accountability, Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana said.

Lugar, Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, for two years has led a probe into allegations of corruption in projects funded by the development banks.

His legislation in the U.S. Senate mandating stricter anti-corruption controls was unanimously approved by the Foreign Relations Committee last August.

The London meeting brought together officials of the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the African Development Bank, the European Bank on Reconstruction and Development and the Inter-American Development Bank.

“This is an important step in the right direction,” Lugar said in a written statement.

A bank official told Reuters: “There was substantial progress in terms of getting our institutions to a more common area of thinking and we’re planning on gathering in the coming weeks to take the ball further down the field.”

He gave few details but said barring backlisted companies from bank business and plans to harmonize anti-corruption policies among all the banks were a focus of the meeting.

More than 330 companies have been blacklisted from business with the World Bank but there has been nothing to keep those companies from doing business with other banks.

Bank officials have also been working on a common definition of corruption and the issue of whether to publish the list of companies blacklisted for corruption.

The World Bank is the only development bank to publish the names of companies it penalizes for corruption or fraud. Companies are given 60 days to respond in writing to a notice of debarment.

Categories: Africa, Odious Debts

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