Hours after World Bank made public that Wipro has been debarred from doing any business with the global lender, the company's Chairman Azim Premji wrote to its over 1,00,000 employees saying that the company had not done anything unethical.
Denying charges levelled by the World Bank that Wipro provided improper benefits to the bank staff, Premji said, "Let me reaffirm that Wipro was right from a legal as well as ethical standpoint. We believe what we did what was right and we did it in the right manner."
The company, in 2000, had provided Bank staff option to purchase its American Depository Shares at IPO price through a Directed Share Programme. However, the Bank in June 2007 determined that this was a conflict of interest. In an internal communication to the company's employees, Premji said, "We have always prided ourselves for setting the highest standards of business ethics in our dealings with all our stakeholders. We have built a strong culture which upholds compliance in letter and spirit. The approach was no different in this instance also."
The World Bank deemed the IT firm ineligible to bid for direct contracts from it for the period 2007-2011. The Bank also named other companies that were barred from doing business it in a list made public on Monday.
Premji further explained that all participants in the Direct Share Programme signed a conflict of interest statement that their purchase did not violate any ethics or conflict of interest policies of their company.
Though the company maintained on Monday that the announcement will not have any impact on its revenues, its stock took a beating at the BSE on Monday. It, however, was trading 4.5 per cent up at Rs 237.6 on the BSE on Tuesday.