As many readers of this blog are likely aware, the World Bank (and the other multinational development banks) have their own procedures for identifying and sanctioning firms that engage in unethical behavior (corruption, but also fraud, collusion, etc.) in Bank projects. At the World Bank, responsibility for addressing corruption and other unethical practices by Bank contractors and partners is handled by the Integrity Vice Presidency (INT), which has investigative and quasi-prosecutorial functions, and the Office of Suspension and Debarment (OSD), an independent adjudicative body, as well as the Sanctions Board, an appellate body.
A few weeks ago, the OSD released a comprehensive report on its office’s activities and performance over its first seven years in operation (fiscal years 2007-2013). It’s a very useful report, and well worth reading. It includes a clear, succinct summary of the World Bank’s sanctions and procedures (including both their history and current structure), and also–most notably–a great deal of descriptive quantitative data about the ODS’s activities. In many ways, the report is a model of transparency, allowing observers both inside and outside the bank to understand the activities of OSD (and, to lesser extent, INT and the Sanctions Board), and perhaps to identify weaknesses and areas for improvement.
But because no good deed goes unpunished, my main initial reaction to the report is to wish there were even more data provided! Here are a few open questions that the data in the OSD report does not address, but that OSD might consider providing in future reports: