Press release: BWSC settles whistleblower case with African Development Bank

Press Release

On the 4th of June BWSC and the African Development Bank (AfDB) reached a settlement that concludes AfDB’s investigation into the case of suspected corruption, which BWSC communicated publicly in February 2019. With the settlement, BWSC accepts a debarment of 21 months.

AfDB’s investigation was initiated after BWSC had self-reported to the AfDB upon concluding its own investigation, conducted by the external lawfirm Poul Schmidt (Kammeradvokaten). AfDB concluded that it is “more likely than not”, that BWSC engaged in corrupt and fraudulent practices in relation to a project in Mauritius.

Nikolaj Holmer Nissen, CEO for BWSC, is satisfied with the outcome of the settlement. “For BWSC this marks a conclusion to a long process following our own investigation, and we appreciate that we can now put this behind us and look ahead”, Mr. Nissen says. In February 2019 BWSC reacted promptly when their own investigation conducted by Kammeradvokaten was concluded and found that certain employees had violated the company policy. The involved employees were summarily dismissed, and two persons were reported to the police. Mr. Nissen adds that “The investigation revealed behavior that is unacceptable and against BWSCs policies. The settlement and relatively short debarment period reflect a constructive collaboration with AfDB and the bank’s recognition of BWSC’s transparency in dealing with the matter as well as our efforts to enhance our compliance program following the investigation.”

Over the past years, BWSC has made substantial investments to further strengthen its compliance program and commitment to ethical business practices. “We remain committed to maintain a best practice compliance program for a business like ours” concludes Nikolaj Holmer Nissen.

Background:

In April 2018, Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor (BWSC) received an anonymous tip-off from a whistleblower alleging misconduct in some of its projects. An external investigation was conducted by the law firm Poul Schmith (Kammeradvokaten). The investigation concluded that certain employees of BWSC had violated their employment contracts and the company’s Code of Conduct. Furthermore, the investigation gave reason to suspect that certain employees had engaged in bribery.

According to the investigation, the actions were carried out by certain employees in one department in BWSC. On the recommendation by the law firm Poul Schmith, BWSC promptly summarily dismissed the involved employees and reported two persons to the Danish police. Upon the completion of Poul Schmith’s investigation, BWSC self-reported the case to the African Development Bank and other relevant stakeholders.

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