World Bank Posts Digest of Sanctions Board Decisions

12 December 2011

The World Bank Dec. 9 announced the creation of a Sanctions Board Law Digest, “publicly detailing for the first time the rationale behind how the Bank Group holds entities accountable for fraud, corruption, and other wrongdoing.”

The independent Sanctions Board makes final decisions in contested sanctions cases.

The Sanctions Board also will start releasing its new decisions on, the Bank said.

 “Until now, the decision-making process behind the sanctions was kept confidential,” the Bank announcement said.

“In a major step toward greater transparency and accountability, the new Law Digest presents information about past Sanctions Board decisions that illustrates the types of cases received and the legal principles the Sanctions Board has applied in deciding liability and sanctions. This is a first among multilateral development institutions,” according to the Bank.

The Digest summarizes 45 decisions, without names of the parties, and also provides 253 short discussions of its handling of specific issues, such as “Theories of Liability.”

Since 1999, the Bank has sanctioned 456 firms and individuals. Visit for the current list of debarred entities.

Under Section 10.01(b) of the World Bank Sanctions Procedures, as adopted January 1, 2011, “The full text of the decisions of the Sanctions Board, as well as the determinations of the Evaluation Officer in uncontested proceedings, shall be publicly disclosed.”

However, no decisions are posted.

A World Bank official said no Board decisions have been reached that are covered by the policy, which appplies only to decisions based on notices issues after Jan. 1, 2011.  The page states:

Under Section 13.01 of the World Bank Sanctions Procedures, decisions will be published only in proceedings for which a Notice is issued by the Evaluation Officer on or after January 1, 2011. Although decisions in proceedings governed by prior versions of the World Bank Sanctions Procedures are not publicly available, the Sanctions Board Law Digest provides (i) case summaries that include a brief synopsis of the allegations, outcome, and procedural framework for all contested cases to date and (ii) case digest entries that illustrate the legal principles and considerations applied by the Sanctions Board based on the facts and circumstances presented in each case.

When the policy was adopted, it was determined not to make it retroactive because the parties had expected that decisions would not be made public and although names are deleted, other information could in some cases allow identification of the party, the official explained.

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Filed under: IFTI Watch


In this column, Washington, D.C.-based journalist Toby J. McIntosh reports on the latest developments in information disclosure in International Financial and Trade Institutions (IFTI).
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