By Catherine Talavera, April 3 2019; Philippine Star

Image Credit to Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Asian Development Bank will intensify its ongoing efforts to promote good governance among its developing member countries (DMCs) as it aims to continue gains it achieved last year based on the annual report of its Office of Anticorruption and Integrity (OAI).

“ADB regards the strengthening of governance and institutional capacity of its DMCs as integral to achieving a more inclusive and sustainable future for Asia and the Pacific,” said OAI head John Versantvoort.

He said ADB remains committed to promoting the highest ethical standards in its operations in DMCs and among its staff to deliver better development results for the region.

Based on the OAI report, ADB concluded 57 investigations of integrity violations in ADB-financed operations last year.

A total of 45 investigations resulted in remedial actions on 109 firms and 42 individuals, which include debarments of 80 firms and 25 individuals.

“OAI also enforced cross-debarment on 272 firms and 48 individuals as part of the agreement among multilateral development banks (MDB), whereby entities debarred by one MDB may be sanctioned for the same misconduct by other participating development banks,” the report said.

It added that these remedial actions have enhanced the integrity within ADB-related activities and the general business environments in DMCs.

“ADB continued to support efforts of Bhutan, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines to institute regulatory measures to combat money-laundering and the financing of terrorism,” ADB said.

It also provided technical and knowledge assistance to DMCs whose tax administrations are adjusting to evolving international standards on tax transparency and tax integrity, including the Federates States of Micronesia, Maldives, the Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Samoa and Thailand.

The ADB emphasized that knowledge sharing on anticorruption and integrity efforts remained an overarching priority in 2018 as it conducted over 100 learning events. These events drew around 4,500 participants from within ADB, member governments and other stakeholders.

In the same year, the ADB, in collaboration with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, also led an evaluation of the Anti-Corruption Initiative for Asia and the Pacific, the largest anticorruption network in the world that provides support to DMCs in implementing the United Nations Convention Against Corruption through capacity development and exchange of expertise and knowledge, among others.

Meanwhile, the financial institution launched a pilot program to strengthen integrity due diligence for ADB-administered consulting services last year. This aimed to ensure that regulations and controls are in place to identify and address potential integrity and reputational risks in consultant recruitment.