Satyam barred from doing business with World Bank

WASHINGTON/NEW DELHI: The World Bank has barred India’s Satyam Computer from doing business with it for eight years on charges of data theft, a Bank official said on Tuesday.

“The information is true... quotes about the World Bank on Fox News channel are correct,” the Bank’s spokesperson in India told PTI when asked about the U.S. media reports on the debarment.

Problem at home

The development comes at a time when the company is facing a probe back home over an abortive acquisition deal involving two firms promoted by Satyam Chairman Ramalinga Raju’s family.

The World Bank debarment — the harshest sanction the world’s largest anti-poverty agency has imposed on any company since 2004 — was meted out for “improper benefits to bank staff” and “lack of documentation on invoices,” said a Fox News report, quoting Robert Van Pulley, a top World Bank information security official.

Months after “stonewalling and denying” reports that Satyam has been barred from doing any business with the bank for eight years, a top World Bank official has admitted that Satyam — one of its technology vendors — was barred in February and the ban had already started in September, the Fox News report said.

The report added that Van Pulley made the comments about Satyam debarment in a meeting and two telephone conversations with officials of the Government Accountability Project (GAP), a 30-year-old whistle-blowing organisation based in Washington.

“From 2003 through 2008... the World Bank paid Satyam hundreds of millions of dollars to write and maintain all the software used by the bank throughout its global information network, including its back-office operations”. — PTI

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