What was going on at the World Bank?
Check out this piece in the Guardian. It details how the World Bank has barred Indian services firm Wipro for four years starting in 2007. This is a result of an offer to sell 'friends and family' shares of Wipro in 2000 to World Bank personnel or their families.
Recently, Satyam was barred from World Bank work for a period of eight years for:
“providing improper benefits to Bank staff and failing to maintain documentation to support fees charged for its sub-contractors.”
Business Standard reports that Megasoft Consultants also got a four year work ban from the World Bank for:
“participating in a joint venture with the Bank staff while also conducting business with the Bank.”
It would appear that GRC (governance, risk management and compliance) software vendors could have a field day selling their software to Indian service firms. There appear to be training, ethics and business practice issues that should be addressed by these firms. Issues that need addressing now!
But more troubling is the observation that if three different services firms can get in trouble at one client, could these firms have created problems in other firms? If this were one service firm having one problem in one client, then we'd have an isolated problem. But now we have three different, distinct firms being banned from the same client. Have other clients done the due diligence that the World Bank has completed? Could there be other issues that have yet to surface?
It's time for clients to lay down the law for service providers to ensure that the service providers act well within the law (not up to or over the line). Service providers should expect new and existing clients demand proof that all consultants have been through ethics, legal and other relevant training. Service providers should anticipate these potential objections and craft documents that show the course content, the course instructors, the people trained and the consequences their employees will face for violating these guidelines.
A Three-peat in basketball is great but in one services client, it is too much.