Some Chinese companies in Nigeria have been blacklisted by the World Bank for fraud and corruption.
The companies include China Railway Construction (International) Nigeria Company Limited, China Railway 18th Bureau Nigeria Engineering Company Limited, CCECC Nigeria Lekki (FTA) Company Limited, CCECC Nigeria Railway Company Limited, CRCC Petroleum & Gas Company Limited, and CCECC Nigeria Company Limited.
All the companies are very active in Nigeria, with ongoing or completed contracts for the construction of railways, highways, housing estates, airport terminals, municipal engineering, water resource, and hydro-power engineering projects for federal and state governments.
The World Bank on its website, accused the companies and several others around the world of violating the bank's fraud and corruption policy.
Consequently, the six companies were debarred and declared ineligible to be awarded any World Bank-financed contracts for at least a year, between June 4, 2019 and March 3, 2020.
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Fraud & corruption policy
It was not clear what specific infractions the companies committed, as there were no available details. No official of the World Bank in Nigeria Country office responded to calls for clarifications.
But, details on the bank's website said the companies were accused of violating the provisions of the Procurement Guidelines, 1.16(a)(ii) bordering on fraud and corruption.
The policy is spelt out in the procurement and consultant guidelines for projects executed before July 1, 2016; or through the World Bank Procurement Regulations for Investment Project Financing Borrowers for projects after July 1, 2016.
The bank's policy requires borrowers, including beneficiaries of its loans, to observe the highest standard of ethics during the procurement and execution of bank-financed contracts.
In pursuit of this policy, the bank sees a corrupt practice as the "offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting, directly or indirectly, of anything of value to influence improperly the actions of another party.
We don't have problems with CCECC, others - LASG
Meanwhile, in spite the blacklisting of the China Civil Engineering Construction Company, CCECC, and five other Chinese firms in Nigeria for fraud by the World Bank, the Lagos State government, yesterday, said it has no reasons to sever relations with the companies as of now.
The CCECC is handling the World Bank-funded 10-lane Lagos-Badagry Expressway with a railway line from Okokomaiko to Marina, Lagos.
In a chat with Vanguard, yesterday, Mr. Gboyega Akosile, Deputy Chief Press Secretary to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said Lagos State government does not have problems with any of the Chinese firms and contractual agreements with them are still subsisting.
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His words: "We don't have any problem with any of the Chinese corporations or companies we contractual agreement with. The fact that they are blacklisted by the World Bank does not necessarily mean our relationship does not subsist as long as we did not collect money to fund the project being executed by the CCECC or any of the blacklisted companies.
"As of now, the government does not have any liability whatsoever. We cannot say because the World Bank blacklisted them today we are going to terminate the project they are doing because we did not collect money from the World Bank for those projects.
"Besides, we have our own mechanism of identifying any agency that is corrupt. If any organisation is culpable, we have our mechanism for dealing with it."