ADP, Bouygues and Colas sanctioned by the World Bank for fraudulent practices

The information was released quietly on Jan. 4 on the World Bank’s website. For one year, until January 3, 2023, because she used practices “Anti-competitive” and “Fraudulent” for having met with political leaders during a call for tenders procedure, ADP International (formerly ADP Management), the subsidiary of the Aéroports de Paris group responsible for international development, may not participate in any project in the world financed directly or indirectly by the Washington-based institution, nor be awarded, over this period, a contract for which it would have previously competed.

The sanction does not stop there. For twelve more months, the subsidiary of ADP will have to show its white paws and meet the ethical requirements of the World Bank if it wants to respond to calls for tenders again. This ban on international competitions – a first for the French group – follows a three-year survey conducted by the World Bank on airport contracts awarded to Madagascar in 2015 and Zagreb, Croatia, in 2011.

ADP is not the only one involved. Bouygues Bâtiment International, responsible for leading Bouygues Construction’s major projects abroad, and Colas Madagascar, a specialist in roads, which formed a consortium with ADP, were also caught up by World Bank investigators. The Bouygues group subsidiary remains eligible for calls for tenders, but it has twelve months to comply with World Bank standards. Colas Madagascar, on the other hand, is excluded for two firm years.

“No corruption”

The three companies had landed a market to renovate and expand the two most important airports in Madagascar, that of Antananarivo, the capital, and that of the island of Nosy Be, a tourist paradise in the north of the big island, with, the key, a twenty-eight year concession. The World Bank blames them to be ” book[es] anti-competitive practices by participating in inappropriate meetings with government officials between February 4, 2015 and May 4, 2015 ”, while the tender procedure was launched. All three recognize the facts but plead, through Antonin Lévy, their lawyer, a change of the rules during the game.

In fact, over-the-counter discussions began between the French group and the Malagasy leaders in the summer of 2014. Then a memorandum of understanding was signed. But the situation changes along the way. In February 2015, the consortium learned that the State was preparing to publish a call for expressions of interest, prior to a call for tenders. “There is then a real incomprehension within the consortium, which has signed a firm contract with the State”, explains Antonin Lévy. Studies have been initiated for a few million euros. As they had promised, the French are coming back with their proposals. It is a new meeting, and other meetings which will follow, while the competition is officially launched, which constitutes in the eyes of the World Bank the fact of collusion. “What should the consortium have done? Denounce the contract concluded with the Malagasy state and prosecute the latter for breach of its contract and ask for compensation? “ the lawyer continues.

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