Sunday, January 17, 2021

South Sudan: World Bank Suspends South Sudan Firm Over Graft Allegations

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The World Bank has sanctioned a construction and general trade company based in South Sudan for 15 months over allegations of corruption while undertaking the Uganda Teacher and School Effectiveness Project.

At the same time, the Bank announced a 24-month sanction of India-based SAI Consulting Engineering Ltd over alleged fraud in three projects in Africa.

The $33 million project that has landed the Sudanese firm, Universal for General Construction and Trading Company, in trouble was financed by the Global Partnership for Education through the World Bank to help the Ugandan government to improve the standards in primary education.

The grant would go towards constructing in 138 schools in 31 districts; classrooms, functioning girls’ and boys’ toilets and access to water in the needy schools as well as improving teacher effectiveness. These schools were selected through a combined needs and effort-based assessment.

Read More: South Sudan aid sector ‘infected’ with bribery, local NGOs say

The three-year project would benefit more than eight million pupils from new textbooks; a million pupils from improved teacher effectiveness in early grade reading teaching; 112,000 others from new classrooms and another 80,000 from trained childhood caregivers.

They would also retrain about 20,800 teachers in primary schools on early grade reading.

Universal is alleged to have used an undeclared agent to prepare a false certificate for a bid on a school construction component of the project.

The certificate substantially and falsely inflated a prior contract’s true value. The company did not ultimately win the contract.

The debarment of the Universal announced on July 10, makes the Juba-based construction giant unqualified to participate in World Bank-financed projects for the given time.

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