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.

Without these actions, the World Bank will be signaling that it has different standards for different companies. It will also signal a lack of respect for the legal procedures of Lesotho, discouraging other countries from taking action when the international community will not recognize these actions.

Bribery has only recently been criminalized in jurisdictions other than the United States. There must be zero-tolerance for multinational companies found guilty of what is a criminal offence.

We look forward to your response to the above.


Pamela Foster

Cc. Marcel Massé, Executive Director for Canada
The Honourable John Manley, Minister of Finance