31 January 2008 | Jake Kanter
The Indian government and the World Bank have promised to fight procurement fraud in the country's health projects, after an investigation by the bank found evidence of corruption.
The review found examples of fraud in five of the government's health projects funded by the bank. These include multi-million pound schemes to buy treatments for diseases such as malaria and AIDS.
Robert Zoellick, World Bank president, said: "The probe has revealed unacceptable indicators of fraud and corruption. The government of India and the World Bank are committed to getting to the bottom of how these problems occurred."
The organisations aim to improve purchasing by increasing transparency, ensuring complete use of e-procurement by 2009, reviewing decentralised purchasing and holding pre-bidding conferences with prospective suppliers. Independent third parties will also scrutinise all future anti-corruption work and the bank will strengthen its supervision to reduce vulnerability.
A World Bank spokesman said: "We're encouraged by the Indian government's efforts to address the procurement process."