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7 December 2021



In 1996, the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) integrated the concept of corruption into their agenda, following James Wolfensohn’s definition of corruption as “a cancer responsible for the illegal diversion of resources”. Battling corruption has always been of utmost importance to the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other MDBs.

This has led to the development of strict policies and the creation of an Anti-Corruption Task Force to help fight against corruption. This Anti-Corruption Task Force established a Uniform Framework that defined which practices are sanctionable and how to share information and resources to help investigate those practices. The MDBs also decided that if one MDB debars an organization, others can sanction it.

Debarment involves excluding the offending party from exercising specific rights or privileges, whether individual or organization related. Conversely, Cross-Debarment is a mutual agreement by participating institutions to exclude another entity that the sanctioning institution has debarred for any sanctionable practices. The severity of the sanction would vary depending on the level of responsibility the guilty party is held to.

In Nigeria, about 40 firms and individuals were blacklisted by the African Development Bank between 2017 and 2021. The World Bank blacklisted about 18 others for participating in some corrupt activities categorized as sanctionable.

This article seeks to enlighten Nigerian organizations and entities on the consequences of practising corrupt and illegal financial activities. It also provides insight into the international definitions of Sanctionable Practices to the public to deter them from direct involvement to help in the fight against corruption.

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