Prosper Ndlovu, Business Editor
THE African Development Bank (AfDB) has blacklisted China’s Chongqing International Construction Corporation for a year over fraudulent practice in its operations.
The regional bank announced on Tuesday what it termed the “debarment” of the giant firm for a minimum of 12 months.
The move follows an investigation conducted by the AfDB’s Office of Integrity and Anti-Corruption, which established that Chongqing International Construction (CICO) “engaged in a fraudulent practice” in bidding for works contracts in the context of an AfDB-financed road project in Uganda.
“In order to meet the pre-qualification requirements of the tenders, CICO inflated its purported experience with similar projects, grossly overstating both the scope and the value of contracts it had supposedly successfully completed in the past,” said the AfDB.
“Upon expiry of the debarment period, CICO shall be released provided that the company adopts and implements a comprehensive integrity compliance programme that meets the standards of the AfDB. The AfDB will verify the adequacy of CICO’s compliance framework prior to any release decision.”
The acting director of the Office of Integrity and Anti-Corruption, Bubacarr Sankereh, said AfDB has the mandate to ensure that the funds it receives from donors were used exclusively to further the socio-economic development of the institution’s regional member countries.
“CICO will therefore remain debarred until the Bank is assured that it is not putting funds at risk by doing business with this company,” he explained.
According to AfDB in 2013, CICO participated in tenders for works contracts under the AfDB-financed road sector support project in Uganda.
In order to prequalify for the tenders, CICO was required to show that it had successfully completed at least four similar projects in the previous five years.
In pursuance of this objective, CICO inflated the scope and the value of its reference contracts.
For example, a contract for a road of 4.4 kilometres was falsely presented as having been 68 kilometres in length.
In another instance, the value of a reference contract was erroneously inflated from just about $17.5 million to approximately $79 million in order to meet the prequalification criteria.