The Privatisation of Utilities is an Invitation to Bribery and Graft

Tuesday, August 17, 1999
BUSINESS Day’s exposure of bribery on the Lesotho Highlands Water Project is a pointer to the degree to which the practice of corruption is increasingly becoming the norm in substantial sectors of big business. It should also serve as a wake–up call to government in its seemingly uncritical faith in the private sector, in particular international corporations, as the vehicle for the development of SA and the region. The initial focus of the Lesotho scandal was on the water project official who took the bribes, but Business Day was quick to point out that it "takes two to tan

Big Firms Accused of Bribery in Dam Project

Friday, August 13, 1999
It’s a tale involving millions of dollars allegedly funneled into Swiss bank accounts by giant international companies competing to build one of the biggest infrastructure projects under construction in the world. The companies stand accused of paying bribes to win lucrative dam–building and engineering contracts on the Highlands Water Project in the southern African kingdom of Lesotho. While bribery in Third World construction projects hardly rates as stunning news, the allegations involve big–name European multinationals, notably ABB Ltd., a Swiss–Swedish firm with about $31 bi

Bribery Taints World Bank–Funded Lesotho Water Project

Sunday, August 1, 1999
A dozen major international dam–building companies involved in the World Bank–funded Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) have lavishly bribed at least one top official on the project, allegedly giving nearly US$2 million in bribes over ten years, reports the South African newspaper Business Day. The information was revealed as part of a court case for the bribed official. Patrick McCully, Campaigns Director of International Rivers Network, says: "Bribery has long distorted the decision–making process on large dams. The international dam industry should be held accou

Corrupt Lahmeyer Debarment Welcome but Late -- NGOs

Tuesday, November 7, 2006
Environmental campaigners welcomed yesterday’s decision by the World Bank to debar German-based Lahmeyer International for bribing officials to win contracts for Africa’s largest inter-basin water transfer scheme, the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP). Korinna Horta of Environmental Defense said: "We welcome the World Bank’s decision to suspend Lahmeyer International from doing business with the Bank for a period of seven years. This decision represents an important departure from just talking about corruption to taking serious action. It sends an important signal to international c

World Bank Debars Acres International Limited (Acres)

Wednesday, June 23, 2004
World Bank Finally Debars Company Convicted of Bribing in Lesotho The World Bank at long last has debarred a company convicted of corruption on Africa’s largest dam project, nearly two years after a guilty sentence was handed down in a Lesotho court. On July 23, the World Bank announced that it would debar from further Bank contracts the Canadian firm Acres International for 3 years. The company had been convicted of bribing the head of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) in September 2002. The World Bank, which had previously concluded there was not enough evidence to debar Acr

Lesotho Judge Convicts German Engineering Firm of Bribery Charges

Wednesday, June 18, 2003
The Lesotho High Court yesterday convicted Lahmeyer International, a German engineering consulting firm, of paying approximately US$550,000 in bribes to the former chief executive of the multi–billion dollar Lesotho Highlands Water Project in exchange for favorable contract decisions, according to South African press reports. Lesotho Justice Gabriel Mofolo found Lahmeyer guilty of 7 of the 13 counts for which they were charged. This is the second company to be convicted in the lengthy trial, which began in 1999. The Canadian engineering company, Acres International, was found guilty last yea

Canadian Engineering Firm Found Guilty of Bribery in Lesotho

Friday, September 20, 2002
Company May Face Disbarment by World Bank The Lesotho High Court today convicted Acres International, a Canadian engineering consulting firm, of paying bribes to win contracts on a multi–billion dollar dam project. Acres had been charged with paying nearly $266,000 to Mr. Masupha Sole, the former chief executive of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. Sentencing will take place on October 7 and 8. Acres’ defense was that they were not responsible for the payments to Mr. Sole as these were made via an intermediary through a "representation agreement." Chief Justice Lehoh

Oakville Engineering Company Braces for African Bribery Verdict

Monday, September 16, 2002
A tale of Swiss bank accounts and battered reputations unfolds in a courtroom in faraway Lesotho In a large brick courthouse in uptown Maseru, Lesotho, a gavel will pound down on a judge’s desk tomorrow. Its measured thud will go unnoticed by Basotho shepherds herding their ponies over nearby passes or the local women hawking their wares in the market. But thousands of kilometres away in the outskirts of Oakville, its reverberations will rattle the foundations of a venerable Canadian company. If the verdict is guilty, Acres International Ltd. will become the first international

Lesotho Highlands Bribes Trial Starts

Monday, June 5, 2000
The Lesotho Highlands Water Project corruption trial begins on Monday, with some of the world’s largest construction companies among the accused.  It started as a run–of–the–mill trial against one greedy individual in a tiny African state but has since snowballed into a court case that implicates some of the world’s largest and best–known construction companies. The Lesotho Highlands Water Project bribery and corruption trial begins on Monday at the Lesotho High Court in the capital, Maseru. Several companies, including Sir Alexander Gibb & Partners of the UK, A

International Rivers' Reply to World Bank Response on Corruption Articles

Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Dear David, Thank you for your detailed message of June 1. We would be happy to discuss the issues at stake in a personal meeting. Let me already respond to a few issues that you raised in order to clarify where we agree and disagree so that we can better prepare our next discussion. We agree that a wide range of options need to be pursued in the water sector, and that in Pakistan and more generally, the World Bank is pursuing many of them. We do not agree with the way the Bank prioritizes different options, the Banks implementation of certain policy issues, and its approach to corruption.


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