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The World Bank today announced the 15-month debarment of Universal for General Construction and Trading Company (Universal), a company based in the Republic of South Sudan that provides general trade and import-export services, in connection with fraud during the Uganda Teacher and School Effectiveness Project.

The debarment makes Universal ineligible to participate in World Bank-financed projects. It is part of a settlement agreement under which the company acknowledges responsibility for the underlying sanctionable practices.

The project was designed to support the Ugandan government in improving teacher and school effectiveness in the public primary education sector. According to the facts of the case, Universal used an undeclared agent to prepare a false certificate for a bid on a school construction component of the project. The certificate substantially and falsely inflated a prior contract's true value, which is a fraudulent practice. The company did not ultimately win the contract.

As a condition of the settlement agreement, company commits to continue to fully cooperate with the World Bank Group Integrity Vice Presidency. 

The debarment of Universal qualifies for cross-debarment by other multilateral development banks (MDBs) under the Agreement for Mutual Enforcement of Debarment Decisions that was signed on April 9, 2010.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The World Bank Group.

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