World Bank Blacklists Building Firm for Fraud

The World Bank has blacklisted a Cambodian firm for faking records in its bid for contracts that the Bank handed out to help the country recover from 2009’s Typhoon Ketsana, which killed dozens of people and inflicted more than $130 million in damages.

In a July 29 statement, the World Bank said it was debarring C.D.W Construction for three years for engaging in “fraudulent practices” under the Cambodia Ketsana Emergency Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Project, a list of needed recovery work worth a total of $40 million.

An investigation by the Bank’s Integrity Vice Presidency, the statement says, revealed that the firm had “submitted fraudulent financial reports and a false statement of construction turnover in its bid in connection with the procurement process.”

The statement offers no other details about the fraud but says the firm’s three-year ban from Bank projects would be enforced by other multilateral development banks as well.

Bou Saroeun, spokesman for the World Bank’s Cambodia office, referred all questions to the Bank’s headquarters in Washington, which did not reply to a request for comment by deadline.

Chuon Dawin, who identified himself as the general manager of C.D.W Construction, said the Bank’s claims were “not true.”

He said he bid for a contract under the Bank project some time in 2009 or 2010 for road repair in Kompong Thom province but lost.

“My company did not yet receive [any] project for Ketsana,” he said. “They did not give me the project.”

Mr. Dawin said the Bank took issue with conflicting financial figures he submitted in two separate documents.

“We sent a draft [report] and the actual report with different figures, so they accused us of fraud,” he said. “We tried to explain, but they didn’t agree with our explanation.”

He said he could not recall the reasons for the discrepancy but denied having any intention to misrepresent the firm’s finances or to deceive the Bank.

In April 2013, the Bank also debarred a major Canadian construction firm, SNC-Lavalin, for 10 years after uncovering misconduct in a $5 million project to help expand access to electricity in rural Cambodia. At the time, the Bank accused the Canadian firm of “a conspiracy to pay bribes and misrepresentations when bidding for Bank-financed contracts.”

Unrelated to Ketsana, Mr. Dawin’s firm was contracted on a local school project by the U.S. Department of Defense.

According to USASpending.org, a U.S. government website that tracks projects funded by the U.S. Federal Government, C.D.W Construction was awarded a $671,000 project in 2009 for school construction.

Mr. Dawin said the school project was completed in 2010. He said his firm now mostly focuses on building private apartment blocks.

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