World Bank Suspends Nigerian Firm Over Bribery
The World Bank Group on Wednesday announced the suspension of SoftTech IT Solutions and Services Ltd. (SoftTech) for 50 months over corrupt allegations in the National Social Safety Nets Project.
The Washington-based institution also announced a 60-month debarment of Isah Kantigi, the company’s managing director.
According to the bank, the debarment make both Nigeria-born Mr Kantigi and SoftTech, an information technology solutions company based in Nigeria, ineligible to participate in projects and operations financed by the bank.
The bank said its decisions are parts of settlement agreements under which the company and Mr Kantigi acknowledged their responsibility for the underlying sanctionable practices and agree to meet specified corporate compliance conditions as a condition for release from debarment.
“The project is designed to provide access to targeted cash transfers to poor and vulnerable households under an expanded national social safety nets system,” the bank said.
World Bank noted that SoftTech, acting under the direction of Mr. Kantigi, who is also the company’s Managing Director, served as the conduit through which he and the other individual consultants made the payments to project officials.
Under the arrangement, it disclosed that SoftTech received into its bank accounts multiple payments from the individual consultants and then transferred the funds into the personal accounts of the project officials, effectively serving as a financial intermediary for these consultants.
“This constitutes a corrupt practise under the World Bank’s Anti-Corruption Guidelines,” the bank said.
“The settlement agreements provide for reduced periods of debarment in light of Mr. Kantigi’s and SoftTech’s cooperation and acknowledgement of the misconduct. As conditions for release from sanction under the terms of the settlement agreements, Mr. Kantigi commits to undertaking corporate ethics training that demonstrate a commitment to personal integrity and business ethics, while SoftTech commits to implementing a code of conduct that reflects the relevant principles set out in the World Bank Group Integrity Compliance Guidelines and a corporate ethics training program.
“In addition, any affiliate that Mr. Kantigi or SoftTech controls, directly or indirectly, will be required to similarly implement a Code of Conduct and corporate ethics training program. Mr. Kantigi and the company also committed to continue to fully cooperate with the World Bank Group Integrity Vice Presidency.”