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Ernst & Young Kenya Faces World Bank Debarment: What Happened and Why


EY Kenya, the Kenyan unit of global consultancy and professional services firm Ernst & Young, has agreed to a 30-month exclusion from World Bank Group funded projects as part of a settlement. This follows the company’s admission to improper accounting for payments and failure to disclose conflicts of interest across various projects.

The World Bank identified these infractions in relation to the Somali Core Economic Institutions and Opportunities Program (SCORE) and the Second Public Financial Management Capacity Strengthening Project (PFM II) in Somalia. SCORE aimed to enhance conditions for private sector growth and investment, while PFM II focused on improving revenue systems and financial accountability in Somalia.

EY Kenya’s violations included undisclosed conflicts of interest during the selection and execution of four contracts under these projects, and the engagement of an intermediary in these contracts. Additionally, EY Kenya allocated allowances for project officials during the implementation of one contract, constituting fraudulent practices under World Bank Consultant Guidelines.

The debarment means EY Kenya and its affiliates are barred from participating in World Bank Group projects for 30 months. This penalty stems from a settlement where EY Kenya accepts responsibility for these infractions and commits to meeting integrity compliance conditions outlined in World Bank guidelines. These conditions include establishing an integrity compliance program aligned with World Bank standards and continuing cooperation with the World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency.

Furthermore, EY Kenya has undertaken voluntary remedial actions, such as disciplining staff involved in the misconduct and refraining from bidding on World Bank Group contracts during the settlement negotiations. The reduced debarment period reflects EY Kenya’s acknowledgment of wrongdoing and its proactive measures to address the issues.

Under a cross-debarment agreement among multilateral development banks, EY Kenya’s exclusion may also be enforced by other international financial institutions. This enforcement mechanism underscores the seriousness with which international bodies address integrity breaches in project implementation.

Similar sanctions have been imposed on other Kenyan companies, including Techno Brain Kenya in 2020, illustrating ongoing efforts to uphold transparency and integrity in international development projects.

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