Corporate accountability

African Adventure: the Lesotho Water Highlands Project - September 2, 2003

Canadian Business Journal


COVER DATE: Sept. 2, 2003

Many Canadians cannot point to Lesotho on a map. Some have never heard of it. In the cruel calculus of world politics, business, trade and finance, it is almost completely irrelevant. And yet, this tiny nation landlocked by South Africa must loom large on the minds of executives at Acres International Ltd., an engineering consulting firm based in Oakville, Ont. Its legal representatives are now in the capital, Maseru, for what could be the endgame of the most important battle in the company's 79-year history.

Letter to World Bank President Re: Corruption at Lesotho Highlands water project - August 21, 2003

James Wolfensohn
World Bank
1818H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433

August 21, 2003

Dear Mr. Wolfensohn,

The fight against corruption is a central part of the World Bank mission to reduce poverty and improve the quality of people's lives.

The World Bank response to the loss of Acres International's appeal in the Lesotho Highlands Water Project of Friday, August 15th, 2003, will be indicative of how the World Bank approaches the fight against corruption.

We urge you to debar Acres International from future Bank-financed contracts. We also ask that all existing World Bank contracts with Acres be subject to review to determine whether Acres bid was carried out in a legal manner.

Acres loses appeal on bribery charge in Lesotho - August 18, 2003

Acres loses appeal on bribery charge in Lesotho
Canadian engineering firm convicted of bribing top official has fine reduced

Special to The Globe and Mail
Monday, August 18, 2003 - Page B3
DURBAN -- Canadian engineering firm Acres International Ltd. lost an appeal against conviction on a charge of bribery in a high-profile corruption case in Lesotho on Friday -- but won its fight against a second graft conviction and had a whopping fine of $4.2-million reduced to $2.8-million.
The Oakville, Ont., firm -- the first of three multinationals charged with bribing a top official to win lucrative contracts in the $3.3-billion Lesotho Highlands Water Project, which delivers water to Lesotho and South Africa -- was convicted last year of two counts of corruption.
It was the first conviction by a developing country of a bribe-giving western company.

Press Responses : Wednesday, June 18, 2003

CBC’s “The Current”
June 18, 2003
Damming Evidence: Canada and the World Commission on Dams  
It's the most expensive construction project in the history of the human race, and one of the largest.
The Three Gorges dam project in China won't be finished until 2009, but this month it passed a symbolic landmark. Engineers closed the dam's sluice gates and for the first time the mighty Yangtze was blocked. The enormous reservoir behind the dam is now starting to fill with water.


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