Vance Center Presents on Multilateral Development Bank Sanctions and Investigations

September 2021

(Photo Credit: Adaobi Egboka)

Continuing the Africa Legal Fellows bi-monthly webinar series, the Vance Center partnered with Orrick to host a webinar on Multilateral Development Bank (MDB) sanctions and investigations. The attendees included law firms, African Legal Fellows (ALF) Program alumni, contractors on MDB-financed projects, and government officials.

Oladimeji Ojo, ALF Program alumnus from Aluko & Oyebode in Nigeria, and Thomas Laryea and Kenton Atta-Krah from Orrick, presented on recent developments in MDB sanctions and investigations, including issues with MDB procurement, contracting processes, and enforcement actions. They explained that, with the recent increase in MDB financing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, private parties and contractors who receive this funding should anticipate increased anti-corruption enforcement by MDBs and should safeguard against this risk by reviewing and enhancing their compliance programs. They advised private parties to be proactive in checking that projects financed by MDBs have a compliance team familiar with the MDBs guidelines and policies and understand the fraud and anti-corruption provisions in bidding documents and contracts for the delivery of goods and services.

Ojo explained that a contract between an MDB and the Nigerian government wouldn’t be enforceable as a treaty, as Nigerian law does not expressly subject vendors to MDB’s investigatory jurisdiction. Instead, this jurisdiction is exercised as a matter of practice. He summarized the investigative process, the institutions likely to be involved, and potential sanctions obtainable in Nigeria. Finally, Laryea and Atta-Krah explained the immunities and privileges of most MDBs from international treaties and the extent to which they have been waived.

The recording of the webinar is available here and for more details on discussions, see the article on Investigations and Sanctions by Multilateral Development Banks: What You Need To Know.