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Oxford University Press reaches agreed resolutions with the World Bank and the Serious Fraud Office

Oxford University Press reaches agreed resolutions with the World Bank and the Serious Fraud Office

03 July 2012

Oxford University Press reaches agreed resolutions with the World Bank and the Serious Fraud Office concluding co-operative investigations into two of its East African subsidiaries with both organisations.

Oxford University Press (OUP) has reached independent agreed resolutions with the World Bank Group and the Serious Fraud Office in the UK, after voluntarily reporting the findings of an OUP investigation into past payments relating to a number of tenders in two East African countries between 2007 and 2010.

In May 2011 OUP was alerted by the World Bank to the possibility of irregularities with payments related to tenders in East Africa.  OUP immediately instructed external lawyers and forensic accountants to undertake a comprehensive and detailed investigation.

Nigel Portwood, Chief Executive of OUP, said:

“OUP is committed to maintaining the highest ethical standards, and we have been deeply concerned to discover evidence of wrongdoing in two of our African subsidiaries. We do not tolerate such behaviour. As soon as these matters came to light we acted immediately to investigate thoroughly and report to the relevant authorities. We have strengthened our management in the region and are taking appropriate disciplinary action in respect of those involved in this conduct."

“Before these issues came to light we had already initiated a major programme to ensure compliance with ethical business practices across our worldwide operations.  The improper behaviour was confined to a small part of the global organisation but of course such conduct should not happen at all. We are absolutely committed to the highest standards of integrity throughout OUP, and are redoubling our efforts to secure that commitment.”

OUP is also announcing today that it will be contributing £2 million to not-for-profit organisations for teacher training and other educational purposes in sub-Saharan Africa. 

Nigel Portwood said: “This £2 million contribution is in part a recognition that the conduct of our two subsidiaries in East Africa fell well below the standards we expect within our organisation. At the same time it is a direct and effective way of improving educational opportunities for children in sub-Saharan Africa, in a way which is true to our core values.  I look forward to announcing more details about our plans in due course.”


World Bank Group statement

Serious Fraud Office statement

For further details please call:
OUP UK Press Office
Telephone +44 (0)1865 353388

Note for editors:

  • The two OUP wholly-owned subsidiaries are OUP East Africa Ltd (based in Kenya) and OUP Tanzania Ltd. They trade in several countries across East Africa.
  • Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. OUP is the world's largest university press with the widest global presence. It currently publishes more than 6,300 new publications a year, has offices in around fifty countries, and employs more than 5,500 people worldwide. It has become familiar to millions through a diverse publishing programme that includes scholarly works in all academic disciplines, bibles, music, school and college textbooks, children's books, materials for teaching English as a foreign language, business books, dictionaries and reference books, and academic journals.