BRITISH CONSULTANT WSP International is under investigation by the Indonesian government for alleged corruption on two World Bank-funded road projects, it has been revealed.
The matter was investigated by the bank following complaints from a contractor.
'The World Bank's recently completed investigation found evidence showing that a consulting company made facilitation and gratis payments exceeding $300,000 (ú159,000) to officials in the Ministry of Public Works in the implementation of contracts valued at about $5.8M, ' said a bank spokesman.
WSP chief executive Chris Cole confirmed that the consultant did work for the Indonesian government on the projects, but he declined to comment on the allegations.
If the Indonesian government supports the corruption claims it will prosecute the company under Indonesian law.
The UK Department for International Development funds infrastructure work overseas and said that it could cancel WSP contracts in Bangladesh, Nepal, Ethiopia and Sudan if the allegations are upheld.
'When it has been established that a company that we are contracting has committed an offence we have the right to terminate the contract early, ' said a spokeswoman.
Indonesia is ranked among the most corrupt countries in the world according to the Transparency International corruption perception index CPI (see map).
The CPI score rates the degree of corruption as seen by businesses and country analysts and ranges from 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (highly clean). Indonesia's score of 2.2 places it 140th out of 158.
Engineers with experience in the country said that corruption is endemic, although it has recently improved.
'I worked for a consultant on a project in Indonesia. I had to articificially inflate the quantities claimed by the contractor so that he could earn enough money to pay bribes to the client, ' said one engineer who asked not to be named.
'It is endemic. You either play the game or you don't work there, ' he said.
Balfour Beatty chief executive Ian Tyler told NCE that the only way to avoid corruption is to avoid the areas where it is rife.
'We will absolutely not get involved in any corrupt practices at any level of the company and if that means there are some parts of the world we cannot operate, so be it, ' he said.
'We operate in the US, Hong Kong and Dubai ? areas where you don't have those problems, ' he added.