The World Bank has debarred American architectural and engineering design firm Louis Berger Group, Inc. (LBG) for one year for allegedly bribing government officials under two WB-financed projects worth around US$500 million in Vietnam.
The WB also imposed a one-year conditional non-debarment on Berger Group Holdings, Inc. (BGH), LBG’s corporate parent.
According to the WB, LBG bribed government officials in the Third Rural Transport and Da Nang Priority Infrastructure Investment projects.
It said BGH failed to effectively supervise LBG and thus bears responsibility for LBG’s misconduct.
A WB inquiry into the company led LBG to conduct its own internal investigation in accordance with terms agreed to by the WB, uncover the misconduct, and disclose its findings to the WB.
So far, Vietnam has not made any announcements related to the bribery allegations.
Late last year, the State Audit found some wrongdoings in the Third Rural Transport project, including the slow progress of some bidding packages.
The $257.2-million project was implemented in September 2007 and finished in June 2014. It restored 3,283 km of rural roads and 22,723 km of electricity lines in 33 provinces across Vietnam.
The $218.4-million Da Nang Priority Infrastructure Investment project was implemented in 2008 and finished in 2013.