Macmillan faces six year World Bank ban over Sudan payments

British publisher faces ban after it admitted making bribery payments for contracts in Sudan.

The World Bank Group, which is headquartered in Washington, said that it had debarred Macmillan Limited and declared the company ineligible to be awarded Bank-financed contracts for a period of six years in a statement.

The World Bank said that the company has admitted making bribery payments to secure contracts for textbooks in Sudan. The World Bank, which supports developing economies and targets poverty reduction, said that the bribery payments related to a World Bank-administered Trust Fund-supported education project in Southern Sudan.

"This agreement is an acknowledgement of past wrongdoing by Macmillan and demonstrates the World Bank's unwavering commitment to ensuring all those who participate in World Bank-financed projects, including those who do not actually get contracts, are held to the highest levels of integrity, while also encouraging companies to come forward and join our fight against corruption," said Leonard McCarthy, Integrity Vice President at the World Bank Group.

Annette Thomas, chief executive of Macmillan, has said she was "deeply shocked" by the issue and apologised for what had happened. Macmillan has agreed to conduct a review of procedure in its education division and to implement a "revised ethical framework." The ban can be reduced to three years subject to continued cooperation, the statement added. It has already been reduced from a possible eight years, in recognition of Macmillan's speedy co-operation.