World Bank retaliates against Parliamentary Whistleblower

World Bank retaliates against Parliamentary Whistleblower

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

At Last - Something from The Bank

It is pleasing to see that this action is already attracting comment from a variety of interested parties, including from Mr. Vigen Sargsyan at the World Bank Armenia Country Office.

From Mr. Vigen Sargsyan - World Bank Armenia Country Office

Thank you for your communication conveying allegations made by Mr. Bruce Tasker concerning World Bank supported activities in Armenia.

As you may be aware, Mr. Tasker’s preliminary findings regarding the Municipal Development Project were included in the interim report of an ad hoc commission of the Armenian parliament in March, 2004. These were carefully reviewed and discussed at the time, as the Bank takes quite seriously any suggestion of improprieties in activities which it supports. In this case, there were numerous errors or misunderstandings, and we understand these were corrected in the final report issued by the Commission.

Mr. Tasker’s more recent allegations concerning blacklisting have no basis. The World Bank does have in place a very serious process which can lead to a formal blacklisting of firms. However, Mr. Tasker is not now, nor has ever been blacklisted, and it is unfortunate that he uses such suggestions to explain any difficulty he may experience in competing successfully on an open level playing field with others in procurement processes under World Bank-financed projects.

Finally, Mr. Tasker has previously communicated with the Bank’s Department of Institutional Integrity (INT) regarding his concerns and I see that you have already addressed the post to INT. Please let us know if you need any assistance in transmitting materials to INT; they can be placed in a sealed envelope and will be sent unopened through our diplomatic pouch directly to them. Meanwhile, we will also forward a copy of our communications with you to INT.

Blowing the WB Whistle comment .............. The Banks Level Playing Field

Mr. Sargsyan
writes that for World Bank-financed projects in Armenia it is possible to 'Compete on an Open Level Playing Field with others in Procurement Processes’.

The ‘Level Playing Field’ for any World Bank project is managed by the ‘Project Management Unit’ (PMU), which, according to Bank rules, must be ‘Registered and Fully Staffed’ prior to the Bank approving the release of project funds.

The Project Management Unit Represents the Interests of the Bank in the recipient country and one of its prime functions is to ‘Manage the Procurement Processes’, in other words to manage the ‘Level Playing Field’

The ‘Sub-Credit Agreement’ was one of the final documents needed for the Bank to release funds for Armenia’s Municipal Development Project, and that agreement was signed by the Director of the Municipal Development Project Management Unit, and should have included the stamp of the ‘Registered and Fully Staffed’ Municipal Development Project Management Unit.

In fact the agreement included the stamp of a ‘Municipal Development Project Implementation Unit’, the registration for which was applied for by Mr. Michael Melkumyan, some years prior to the Municipal Development Project, but which was Rejected by the Armenia State Registry.

So management of the ‘Level Playing Field’ for procurement processes under World Bank-financed Municipal Development Project was arranged Illegally by Mr. Melkumyan, with a Counterfeit Stamp provided by Mr. Michael Melkumyan, who just happens to be the Husband of Mrs. Naira Melkumyan, Portfolio Director for the World Bank at the Country Office in Armenia.

That must be as level a playing field as one would expect to find !!

And from GAP ......... The Government Accountability Project says

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