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ETHICS. CE 397 Fall 2005 Paula Kulis Charlotte Amato. What Happens?. Lending bank. Contract, $$. $. Friends or Self. Government Agencies. $. Individual gain. people. Lesotho. Slightly smaller than Maryland Entirely 2000m above sea level ~ 2 million people

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CE 397 Fall 2005

Paula Kulis

Charlotte Amato

what happens
What Happens?

Lending bank

Contract, $$


Friends or Self




Individual gain


  • Slightly smaller than Maryland
  • Entirely 2000m above sea level
  • ~ 2 million people
  • Completely dependent on South Africa
  • 10 km2 irrigated land
  • Life expectancy at birth: 34.47years
  • AIDS prevalence: 28.9%
  • Main natural resource: water


  • More Water for South Africa
  • More Money for Lesotho
    • Hydropower!!!
    • SA buys water from Lesotho
lesotho sa treaty lhwp
Lesotho-SA Treaty: LHWP
  • Militant Rule in Lesotho
  • Partial World Bank Funding
  • Privatization – Government is “middleman”


getting caught
Getting Caught!
  • 1993: Civilian Rule  Audit LHDA
  • Masupha Ephraim Sole
    • Investigations: “living far beyond his means”
    • Swiss Bank Accounts
what happened
What Happened?


Foreign Contractors

Contract, $$





Lesotho Government


Who gets in trouble? EVERYONE

the punishment
The Punishment
  • Trials are still going on
  • Sole given prison sentence
  • Acres Int’l Barred from World Bank Funding
  • Six other corporations in trouble
  • World Bank has provided minor aid in prosecution
  • Set a precedent of culpability for all involved, not just the government
  • Independent investigation
    • Embarrass international agencies
  • First poor nation to prosecute to this extent
  • Bolivia 1,098,580 sq km
  • Very poor nation
    • purchasing power per capita $2,600
    • 64% below poverty line (12% USA)
  • National average 41 Liters a day
  • Waterborne disease prominent
  • Natural resources: tin, lead, hydropower
  • Cochabamba 482,857 inhabitants (1996)
  • Cochabambas water supply was in terrible condition and in need of repair and improvements far beyond the capability of the government.
  • Bolivia was in a trend of privatization of many industries due to the economic ruin following the collapse of the tin mining industry.
  • Pressure under the Multilateral Financial Institutions promise of debt relief contingent on privatization of water system
cochabamba water system privatization
Cochabamba Water System Privatization
  • Poorly constructed laws were hastily passed.
  • In mid 1999 the system was sold to Aguas de Tunari, a subsidiary of Bechtel- the ONE bidder and created a monopoly.
  • Privatization – Government is “middleman” that left themselves with no power of oversight.


privatization unethical monopoly
Privatization(Unethical Monopoly?)
  • 40- year exclusive contract.
  • Rate increases of 50%-400% under Betchel (20% of the average citizens salary).
  • Contract allowed no government subsidies. A condition placed by the WB.
  • Contract guaranteed 16% annual price return on investment.
  • 7 months of protests forced the government to break contract with Betchel and reverse some of the laws they had passed.
what happened16
What Happened?

World Bank

International Monetary Fund

Inter-American Development Bank

Foreign Contractor (monopoly)

$ Debt Relief

Bolivian Government

$ Privatization


$ All system improvements and guaranteed returns

$ Citizen Burden

the punishment not exactly
The Punishment ?Not Exactly….
  • Betchel is suing Bolivian government for $25 million (only $7 million invested over the 7 months of privatization)
  • Cochabambans are left with the same inadequate dirty water supply they had to start with.
    • Sentiment that the affordable access to dirty water is a basic right they prefer over the extorted cost of clean water.
  • Riots resulted in bad press for the Multilateral Lending Agencies which has led to policy reformation.
    • "European public water utilities should be enlisted to assist in meeting the water MDGs through not-for-profit public-public partnerships. In international fora, the EU must use its influence to reorientate the policies of the World Bank and other international financing institutions to end privatization conditions linked to financial support to those requesting it."
        • Dutch NGO the Corporate Europe Observatory campaign letter to EU
Questions ?
  • The Senate hearings clearly concluded that the development banks have some culpability for letting their funds be wasted. Do you think this is fair? Isn’t it the individual governments and companies who are to blame? Who is really responsible for changing things?
  • Do you think the measures being taken, at least on paper, by the MDBs is sufficient? What else can they do?
  • How do the problems explained above present themselves in the case studies of Bolivia and Lesotho (see required readings)?