The World Bank today announced the eight-month debarment of Nepal-based consulting firm Centre for Natural Resources Management, Analysis, Training, and Policy Research (Narma) for engaging in fraudulent practice while executing a contract under the Project for Agriculture Commercialization and Trade (PACT Project) in Nepal.
The debarment makes Narma ineligible to participate in World Bank-financed projects. It is part of a settlement agreement under which the company acknowledges responsibility for the underlying sanctionable practices and agrees to meet specified corporate compliance conditions as a condition for release from debarment.
The PACT Project was designed to improve the competitiveness of smallholder farmers and the agribusiness sector in certain districts in Nepal. According to the facts of the case, Narma submitted an invoice for payment under the PACT Project for work that it had already substantially completed prior to being awarded a contract under the project. This is a fraudulent practice.
The settlement agreement provides for a reduced period of debarment in light of the fact that Narma had never been paid for the work for which it sought payment, as well as the company's cooperation and voluntary remedial actions. As a condition for release from sanction under the terms of the settlement agreement, the company commits to complete corporate ethics training and to developing and implementing a corporate ethics training program consistent with the principles set out in the World Bank Group Integrity Compliance Guidelines. The company also commits to continue to fully cooperate with the World Bank Group Integrity Vice Presidency.