The World Bank Group announced the debarment of the Swedish engineering consultancy firm SWECO Environment AB and its affiliates and the conditional non-debarment of SWECO International AB, and its affiliates for three years following the company’s acknowledgement of misconduct related to a water and environmental project in Ukraine.
The company and its affiliates have been blacklisted after two former SWECO Environment AB employees paid for a trip for the Head of the Project Management Unit and his family during the procurement process for two World Bank-financed contracts. The trip was offered in exchange for confidential information from the technical proposals of other consultants competing for the same contracts and to provide their own inputs into the bid evaluations processes.
Sweco had previously announced the suspected improprieties in a press release on 28 November 2012 and filed a police report of the incident. On 17 July 2013, the Stockholm Court convicted the two former Sweco executives, one of whom received a jail term. The two were also dismissed by the company following the investigation. The individuals in question were an employee at Sweco Sweden and a sub-consultant to Sweco. The event has been under investigation by the Swedish Prosecution Authority’s National Anti-Corruption Unit.
SWECO is the 12th Swedish company blacklisted by the World Bank. On August 15, 2003, the World Bank permanently debarred Smaforetagartjanst SRB AB (“Smafor”), another Swedish company, and its owner, Jan Sundqvist, for engaging in fraudulent practices relating to its use of Bank Consultant Trust Funds. The fraudulent practices were in connection with two Trust Fund-financed postal reform contracts awarded to Smafor for projects in Trinidad & Tobago, and the Netherlands Antilles. The”Smafor” case was part of a larger investigation conducted by the World Bank into fraud and corruption relating to consultant trust funds.