World Bank Seeks Outside Investigator to Look Into Inquiry

The World Bank said Thursday that it would seek “an outside firm” to look at the work of the bank’s ombudsmen regarding an inquiry into sexual abuse allegations at schools in Kenya.

Bloomberg
First Published17 May 2024
World Bank Seeks Outside Investigator to Look Into Inquiry
World Bank Seeks Outside Investigator to Look Into Inquiry

(Bloomberg) -- The World Bank said Thursday that it would seek “an outside firm” to look at the work of the bank’s ombudsmen regarding an inquiry into sexual abuse allegations at schools in Kenya. 

The International Finance Corporation, the arm of the bank that lends to the private sector, had invested in Bridge International Academies. That company ran the schools, and the bank’s watchdog, called the Compliance Adviser Ombudsman, started an investigation after child sexual abuse accusations arose.

In March, the IFC issued a statement saying it is embarking on an action plan based on the office’s recommendations after it concluded the probe.

World Bank President Ajay Banga asked for an outside inquiry because ‘the allegations were not acted on as early or aggressively as they could have been,” according to the bank’s statement Thursday, which added that “the review will seek to confirm that IFC staff and management cooperated fully with CAO as required under IFC policies.”

“This will include exploring if CAO had unfettered access to the relevant documents and information required to conduct the Bridge investigation, as well as access to all relevant staff involved in, or with knowledge of, the Bridge investment,” the bank said in the statement.

The International Finance Corp. invested $13.5 million from 2013 to 2016 in New Globe Schools, Inc., which owned Bridge International Academies.

A separate investigation was begun earlier this year by the US International Development Finance Corp. 

In March, the Treasury Department said it was “profoundly concerned with the unacceptable failures at the IFC” uncovered in the ombudsman’s investigation.  

--With assistance from Eric Martin.

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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