The World Bank on Jan. 14 announced the debarment of seven contractors and one individual for engaging in bid rigging on a major bank-financed roads project in the Philippines. The World Bank’s Integrity Vice Presidency (INT) found that local and international firms colluded on contracts under phase one of the Philippines National Roads Improvement and Management Program (NRIMP 1). The World Bank’s Sanctions Board agreed the firms engaged in a bid-rigging scheme.

The contractors debarred include China Road and Bridge Corp. (eight years), China Geo-Engineering Corp. (five years), and China State Construction Engineering Corp. (six years), all based in Beijing; Fuzhou-based China Wu Yi Co. Ltd. (six years), along with Philippines-based contractors Cavite Ideal International Construction and Development Corp. of Pasay City (four years), CM Pancho Construction Inc., Quezon City (four years), and Manila-based E. C. de Luna Construction Corp. and its owner Eduardo C. de Luna (permanent). The debarments can be reduced if the firms put in place compliance programs. Dongsung Construction Co. Ltd., Gyeongnam, Korea, also was debarred in August 2008 for four years in this case.

Under NRIMP 1, which was completed in March 2007, 1,400 kilometers of roads were built or resurfaced and the Philippine Dept. of Public Works and Highways upgraded its processes. The program was partially financed by a $150-million loan from the World Bank.

“This is one of our most important and far-reaching cases, and it highlights the effectiveness of the World Bank’s investigative and sanctions process,” says Leonard McCarthy, World Bank integrity vice president. He says INT is conducting a worldwide review of the bank’s activity in the roads sector.