LIMA Dec 28 Peru said on Wednesday that
Odebrecht SA and other companies involved in
corruption will not be able to bid on public work contracts, a
week after the Brazilian builder acknowledged distributing $29
million in bribes in the Andean country.
The government is changing public contracting laws to ensure
that companies that have been penalized for corruption or that
have admitted to bribing officials cannot compete on projects,
said Prime Minister Fernando Zavala.
"They won't be able to participate in public tenders,"
Zavala told the media when asked if that included Odebrecht.
The announcement appeared to end Odebrecht's nearly
four-decade role as a successful bidder on public work projects
in Peru, the first country outside of Brazil where it ventured
and home to some of its most ambitious projects, from a highway
that crosses the Amazon to a tunnel that pumps water through the
Zavala said the government would decide on a case-by-case
basis what to do with billions worth in contracts already
awarded to Odebrecht as local prosecutors determine if they were
won with bribes.
Odebrecht did not immediately respond to requests for
The family-owned conglomerate is at the center of a growing
corruption scandal in Latin America after it said in a plea deal
in the United States that it doled out $439 million in bribes to
public officials and their intermediaries in countries outside
of Brazil, according to U.S. court documents.
The plea deal did not name the officials who took bribes in
Peru or the projects involved.
With several executives in prison in Brazil and its debt
mounting, Odebrecht is not expected to bid on new projects
However, Zavala's comments could help the government firm up
its stance against corruption after President Pedro Pablo
Kuczynski faced criticism for appearing to defend Odebrecht by
saying that not all of the company was corrupt.
On Tuesday Panama said it was canceling a $1 billion
hydroelectric contract awarded to Odebrecht in recent years and
would ban the company from future projects until it cooperates
with local authorities.
(Reporting by Mitra Taj; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)