Monday, November 19, 2007

More on the bid-rigging case

The Philippine government promised Tuesday to investigate reports of bid-rigging that led the World Bank to suspend a US$232 million (€158 million) loan for a national road project.

The bank's vice president, Jim Adams, said in a statement from Washington that the lender had rejected two large road contracts between 2003 and 2006 "because of strong signs of collusion and excessive pricing" linked to government procurement.

The contracts are part of the national roads improvement and management program, which is partly financed by the World Bank and which Adams described as the country's main tool for modernizing infrastructure.

He said bank and government officials have developed "stringent anti-corruption measures" to address anomalies in the bidding process, but that the second phase of the project will remain on hold "until the government and the board members receive the information they have requested."

World Bank spokesman Peter Stephens told The Associated Press he expects the board to discuss the projects again in the next few weeks because it wants "to be sure that all of the safeguards and precautions are in place."

-Philippines vows to probe corruption after World Bank scraps road loan

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