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Mauritius: The Fight Against Fraud and Corruption Shall Continue Relentlessly, Without Fear or Favour, Says Prime Minister Jugnauth

09/09/2020

This Government has adopted a zero-tolerance policy against corruption and the fight against fraud and corruption shall continue relentlessly, without fear or favour.

The Prime Minister, Mr. Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, made this statement, this morning , at the National Assembly, in reply to the Private Notice Question pertaining to the alleged corrupt and fraudulent practices unfolded by the African Development Bank (ADB) concerning the tender for the redevelopment of the St.Louis Power Station.

The Prime Minister indicated that according to a press release of the ADB dated 08 June 2020, in 2014 and 2015, Burmeister & Wain participated in tenders for the redevelopment of the Saint Louis power plant in Mauritius, a project financed by the ADB. He pointed out that the document indicates that an investigation conducted by the Bank's Office of Integrity and Anti-Corruption has concluded that it is more likely than not that the company engaged in fraudulent and corrupt practices in the context of this project.

He further stated that the press release indicates that pursuant to a settlement agreement, the Bank has announced the debarment of Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor, for a period of 21 months, for engaging in sanctionable practices in a power generation project financed by the Bank in Mauritius.

Prime Minister Jugnauth highlighted that evidence supports a finding that Burmeister & Wain, on a balance of probabilities, financially rewarded members of the Mauritian administration and others, through the intermediary of third parties, for providing access to confidential tender-related information which allowed them to tailor the technical specifications of the tenders to its offering, thus gaining an undue competitive advantage over other tenderers.

Moreover, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth pointed out that his Office was not informed about the inquiry, was not provided with the report of investigation and neither was it solicited for assistance.

It is to be noted that the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development ,on 09 June 2020 , requested a copy of the report on the investigation and on the following day the Bank replied that as per its guidelines and policies, investigation reports compiled by its Office of Integrity and Anticorruption are confidential in nature and cannot be shared outside of a referral process to law enforcement authorities, added the Prime Minister.

He further added that following the circulation of the Press release of the ADB on 08 June 2020, the Prime Minister's Office was called upon to make an assessment of the impacts of the matter, while the Central Electricity Board (CEB) referred the matter to the Independent Commission Against Corruption( ICAC) on 09 June 2020.

Besides, Prime Minister Jugnauth announced that the Acting General Manager of the CEB has agreed to inform the Board of his intention to step aside from his current position pending further development regarding the investigation.

Tough and stringent actions as may be warranted by ICAC will be taken against any person who is found to be involved in any of the alleged acts of fraud and corruption, stated the Prime Minister.

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