May 6, 2020 / 7:15 PM / a month ago

World Bank debars Chinese electrical equipment firm over fraud on Zambia project

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The World Bank on Wednesday said China-based Liaoning-EFACEC Electrical Equipment Company Limited (LEEEC) would be ineligible to participate in bank-funded projects for 20 months due to fraudulent practices in connection with a project in Zambia.

The debarment is part of a settlement under which the company acknowledged responsibility for failing to disclose a conflict of interest and other “sanctionable practices,” and agreed to carry out remedial actions, the bank said in a statement.

The case involves the Lusaka Transmission and Distribution Rehabilitation Project in Zambia, which was designed to increase the capacity and improve the reliability of the electricity transmission and distribution system in Lusaka, the capital.

World Bank debarments typically run for three years, but it said it shortened the period to 20 months because the company was cooperating and had agreed to develop an “integrity compliance program” consistent with World Bank guidelines.

The bank said LEEEC had failed to disclose a conflict of interest and misrepresented its past contract experience to meet the requirements of a contract under the Lusaka project, which constitutes “a fraudulent practice.”

The bank’s debarment of LEEEC qualifies for cross-debarment by other multilateral development banks.

World Bank spokesman said the Lusaka contract was the only major contract awarded to LEEEC.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Leslie Adler

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