Money for Nothing (Or How Corruption Fuels Dam Building in Nigeria)

Nigeria is being rocked by a huge corruption scandal. As President Yar’Adua recently revealed, the administration of his predecessor spent $16 billion on the power sector, but appears to have diverted much of the money. The ongoing investigation has unearthed interesting details about how corruption works in practice. The story involves dam builders from Germany, China and other countries and senior World Bank officials. The Nigerian government has earned about $390 billion from its oil wealth since 1970. Yet the vast majority of Nigerians live on less than $2 per day. Unemployment is ra

Chronic Problems at Yacyretá Dam

Tuesday, July 13, 2004
International Rivers Network Press ReleaseINTER-AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK INVESTIGATION CONFIRMS CHRONIC PROBLEMS AT YACYRETÁ DAMA new report issued by the Inter-American Development Bank's Independent Investigation Mechanism has confirmed chronic and serious problems with the Yacyretá Hydroelectric Project, financed in large part by the IDB and the World Bank. The report, completed in May, but only just made public, also cites numerous violations of IDB policy in non-enforcement of regulations on resettlement and environmental mitigation questions.The IDB has loaned a total of $977 million

Lesotho Highlands Water Project: What Went Wrong?

Monday, October 31, 2005
LHWP What Went Wrong? Presentation to Chatham House Conference, July 10th 2000 "Corruption in Southern Africa – Sources and Solutions" I have been asked to discuss the charges currently being prosecuted in the Lesotho courts against 19 corporate and individuals accused of bribing a top official in the Lesotho Highlands Water Project in order to gain project contracts. My allotted task is to explore the question: "What went wrong?" I want to turn this question around. Instead of asking "What went wrong?" I would like to ask, "What went right? For whom?" I want to do so because I would like yo

Companies Charged with Corruption on Lesotho Dams

Wednesday, December 1, 1999
Ten companies and two consortia were summoned to appear in the Maseru Magistrates’ Court in Lesotho on November 29 on charges of bribing Masupha Sole, former director of the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA). Sole is accused of accepting around US$2 million in bribes from the companies, which included major dam–building firms from Europe, Canada and South Africa. The accused companies worked on the Katse Dam, the first of five huge dams planned for the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP). Katse is now completed and work has started on a second dam, Mohale. The World Bank ha

Response from the World Bank on LHWP

Tuesday, November 30, 1999
The World Bank Callisto E. Madavo Vice President, Africa Region Antonio Tricarico Reform the World Bank Campaign Via Ferraironi 88/G 00172 Rome ITALY Dear Mr. Tricarico, I would like to thank you for your letter to Mr. Wolfensohn of November 19 regarding the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP). Mr. Wolfensohn has asked me to respond, and I can assure you that the World Bank’s commitment to eradicate corruption is strong and will be sustained. The list of firms that the Bank has declared ineligible to be awarded future Bank–financed contracts continues to grow, and all of these fir

Companies Charged with Corruption Should Be Suspended From World Bank Contracts

Friday, November 26, 1999
Dam–building companies charged with corruption in a Lesotho court should be suspended from receiving World Bank contracts while they are under investigation, says International Rivers Network. International Rivers is also calling on the World Bank to establish an independent investigation of its role in the scandal. Ten companies and two consortia have been summoned to appear in the Maseru Magistrates’ Court in Lesotho on November 29 on charges of bribing Mr. Masupha Sole, former director of the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA). Mr. Sole is accused of accepting around

Lesotho Highlands Water Project, World Bank’s Responsibilities and Impregilo Involvement in Corruption Court Case

Friday, November 19, 1999
Mr. James Wolfensohn President The World Bank 1818 H Street, NW Washington D.C. 20433 U.S.A. Fax: +1 202 522 0355 Dear President Wolfensohn, We are writing to you on behalf of Campagna per la riforma della Banca mondiale, a coalition of 40 Italian development NGOs and environmental and human rights associations that has been, and still is, following with great attention and concern the developments of the court case on alleged corruption by several companies, such as Italy’s Impregilo, in the Lesotho Highland Water Project. Impregilo is accused of having given bribes amounting t

Letter to World Bank President Concerning Corruption in Lesotho Highlands Water Project

Friday, November 5, 1999
James Wolfensohn President, World Bank 1818 H Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20433 U.S.A. File Reference: HE/DB/ Contact Name: David Boys Tel: 011 334 50 40 11 65 Dear Mr. Wolfensohn, The World Bank has repeatedly said in recent years that it is determined to combat corruption. You yourself made a speech at the IACC in Durban last month in which you said that corruption is at the heart of the problem of world poverty. Your speech, like many others, focused on the problem of corrupt officials and politicians receiving bribes. But someone pays every bribe – and as the OECD a

Major Dam Companies Caught in African Bribery Scandal

Friday, October 1, 1999
In July, it was revealed in a respected South African newspaper that a dozen major international dam–building companies involved in the World Bank–funded Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) in Southern Africa had lavishly bribed at least one top official on the project, allegedly giving nearly US$2 million in bribes over ten years. The list of corrupt companies reads like a who’s who of the dam–building industry (see page 11 for full listing of companies and bribes paid). At press time, the World Bank had indicated that its anti–corruption guidelines may not apply in this cas

Letters to the Washington Post on the Lesotho Project Corruption Case Reveal Very Different Perspectives

Friday, August 13, 1999
Corruption and the World BankMonday, August 23, 1999; Page A16 The following is a letter from Lori Pottinger, International Rivers’s Southern Africa Program director to The Washington Post on August 23, 1999. The article "Big Firms Accused of Bribery in African Dam Project" cites World Bank claims that it had a limited role in the Lesotho Highlands Water Project because it made only a small contribution to the multibillion–dollar financing scheme [Business, Aug. 13]. Nothing could be further from the truth. Not only did the World Bank finance the design of the project; it also is respo


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