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Leveraging New Tools to Report Fraud and Corruption: The World Bank Launches its Integrity App

Stephen S. Zimmermann's picture

The World Bank has been making increasing use of Apps to make its information and data more accessible via mobile devices. The launch of the Integrity App expands the World Bank’s open data universe, and - perhaps even more excitingly - enables users to engage as 'citizen corruption fighters' to help protect the integrity of its projects, and ensure that development funds are used for their intended purposes.

So what does the new World Bank Integrity App do? It enables users to report concerns of fraud or corruption in Bank-financed projects. As with all such reports received, these are handled by the World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency, a specialized unit responsible for investigating and pursuing sanctions in cases of fraud and corruption in World Bank-financed projects.

Users of the Integrity App can identify projects (by name, country, sector or key word) and submit a confidential report of their concerns. Other features include attaching an image or recording the location of the complaint through the optional use of GPS. Users can also view the World Bank’s integrity policies.

What makes this app more than a reporting tool, however, is the access it provides to the outcome of fraud and corruption investigations through a link to the World Bank’s Sanctions Decisions, and to the list of Debarred Firms and Individuals. To those not familiar with the concept of debarment and cross-debarment, this link provides a useful introduction. More access to this kind of information can only be a good thing, to help deter firms and individuals from engaging in corrupt practices and to alert others to the risks of working with partners who have been sanctioned.

The World Bank Integrity App joins the growing ranks of citizen-led or citizen-centered transparency initiatives that have sprung up around the world. NGOs, in particular, have taken a lead in leveraging the power of mobile data to take a stand against corruption. It is time for public institutions and government agencies to heed the call. Some already are and many more could learn a thing or two from these citizen innovators. The World Bank Integrity App is initially available to download for IOS devices through the ITunes store. Development is underway for other platforms and for a web App. To view other World Bank Apps click here. To view the Press Release for the Integrity App click here.

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Submitted by Badri on
Great initiative! Are there ways to protect identity in case the whistle blower is afraid of the project stakeholders?

Submitted by Joel Krose on
World Bank provides an important function for the countries that lack modern banking system, failed economies and have the inability to sustain ongoing infrastructure for people living in the third world. The key to solving all those issues start with tackling government corruption and lack of transparency. Unfortunately many third world countries and even developing countries have governments riddled with corruption at the highest levels of government. Authoritarian rulers that refuse to let democracy take foothold also present a serious challenge. In recent times we have seen the military government in Nigeria with substantial oil revenue lettings its people starve. Mubarak regime and Libyan regime looted its people and hid billions in Swiss bank accounts. Corruption is a serious problem in Russia, China, India, Brazil and South Africa and hence the growth is hampered. Most Asian countries are faced with corruption issues that makes its people live in poverty while the ruling elite live a life of luxury. World Bank can foster an environment that creates conditions attached to loan provisions whilst not making it a burden on the governments to pay back the debts. Thus far World Bank's attempts to force the repayments has somewhat affected the ability of the governments to effectively utilize the funds to create sustainable development. It requires a sound understanding of the issues faced by a particular government and individually tailoring a solution for each country on its merits rather than the current approach 'one size fits all'.

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