World Bank debars PCS Limited

WASHINGTON, March 29, 2023 - The World Bank Group today announced the 15-month debarment of PCS Limited, a power and communication company based in the Republic of Vanuatu, in connection with fraudulent practices as part of the Vanuatu Rural Electrification Project.

The debarment makes PCS Limited and its affiliates ineligible to participate in projects and operations financed by institutions of the World Bank Group. It is part of a settlement agreement under which the company admits culpability for the underlying sanctionable practice and agrees to meet specified integrity compliance conditions prior to release from debarment.

The project was designed to scale up access to electricity services for rural households, aid posts, and community halls located in dispersed off-grid areas in Vanuatu. In 2015, the project contracted vendors to supply and distribute subsidized solar photovoltaic systems to targeted beneficiaries. According to the facts of the case, from November 2018 through May 2020, PCS Limited claimed subsidies on a non-subsidized item when submitting its subsidy reimbursement applications and knowingly misled the Project Implementation Unit in order to obtain a financial benefit from the project. This is a fraudulent practice under the World Bank's Procurement Guidelines.

The settlement agreement provides for a reduced period of debarment in light of PCS Limited's admission of the misconduct, cooperation, and voluntary remedial actions. As a condition for release from sanction under the terms of the settlement agreement, the company commits to developing and implementing a Code of Conduct that reflects the relevant principles set out in the World Bank Group Integrity Compliance Guidelines, as well as a corporate ethics training program. The company also commits to continue to fully cooperate with the World Bank Group Integrity Vice Presidency.

The debarment of PCS Limited qualifies for cross-debarment by other multilateral development banks (MDBs) under the Agreement for Mutual Enforcement of Debarment Decisions that was signed on April 9, 2010.

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