World Bank boycotts Finnish study of Xayaburi dam

Phnom Penh Post 20 July 2012

By Shane Worrell

The World Bank has blacklisted an arm of the company that carried out a much-criticised study into the Xayaburi hydro dam project, it has confirmed.

According to the bank’s website, Pöyry Management Consulting Oy Finland has been banned from conducting business with the bank for three years. The penalty is for allegedly “submitting false invoices and providing improper benefits” to bank staff.

According to Finnish English-language weekly the Helsinki Times, the incident involves a project in the East Asia/Pacific region in 2009.

Pöyry in Finland declined to comment to the Post yesterday, while a World Bank spokesperson said the bank did not “elaborate on the information on the website”.

The Lao government commissioned a Swiss arm of the company, Pöyry Energy AG, in 2011 to study whether the proposed 1,260 megawatt dam on the Mekong River would comply with the Mekong River Commission’s requirements.

International Rivers has questioned why the report both concluded that the dam was “principally in compliance” and recommended more than 40 additional studies to bring the project into compliance.

Mekong countries, including Cambodia, have demanded another study.

Kirk Herbertson, Southeast Asia policy coordinator for International Rivers, said he had heard of the blacklisting, but did not know of any direct connection with the Xayaburi dam.

“But this is a reflection of the type of companies Laos has chosen to deal with,” he said.

 

To contact the reporter on this story: Shane Worrell at shane.worrell@phonmpenhpost.com

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