Community driven projects reduce corruption: World Bank official

June 13th, 2008 - 7:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, June 13 (IANS) One of the best ways to reduce corruption in social, political and trade institutions is to have more community driven projects where the community monitors projects and delivers where stringent law fails, a World Bank official said Friday. Addressing the 2nd Annual Anti-Fraud Conference here, Christian Kammer, senior forensic accountant with the World Bank, said: “Stringent laws sometimes fail but when the community itself monitors the projects, then be it from any sector, the project executors or contractors always play safe and avoid indulging in corrupt and fraudulent practices.”

World Bank, last year, had launched a detailed implementation review (DIR) to ferret out discrepancies in five health projects, valued at $569 million, in the country.

The review was promoted by an investigation into a reproductive and child health project where it was found that two major pharmaceutical companies had indulged in corrupt practices.

“Of course, now they have been disbarred by the World Band and also by the (Indian)government,” he informed the gathering.

The probe was the biggest forensic accounting review carried out in India by the World Bank.

“Through this probe, we (World Bank) also identified various technological tools that can now help us in carrying out investigations in any part of the world to pinpoint corrupt practices,” the official said.

Soon after the report was made public, the government, in collaboration with the World Bank, decided to implement safeguards and also announced its “intention to re-examine ongoing and future World Bank and other donor-aided projects”.

Due to the tightening of vigilance and recruitment, National AIDS Control Organisation has banned 163 NGOs out of a total 952, he added.

“During the course of our investigations, we found several NGO were fictitious, existing only on paper,” Kammer said, adding that there was a need for “qualified investigators specialising in pinpointing economic frauds”.

Another speaker, Mayur Joshi, chairman of Indiaforensic, an institute specialising in imparting training to bureaucrats, bankers and accountants in forensic accounting, said: “India does not have qualified investigators specialising in economic offences while the US has 23,000 trained and certified anti-fraud professionals. We in our country have just a handful of certified investigators.”

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