Crack-down on foreign bribery underway in major exporting countries

Fifteen OECD countries making “promising start” in enforcing anti-bribery laws.

A positive start has been made to enforce the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Anti-Bribery Convention, with prosecutions or investigations underway in 15 of 24 countries surveyed in a report prepared by Transparency International (TI), the leading global non-governmental organization devoted to combating corruption, it was stated at a meeting held at the ECA.

But governments need to do more to enforce the laws criminalizing bribery of foreign public officials that came into force in most signatory countries in 1999 and 2000, it was said.

TI Chairman Peter Eigen stated that effective enforcement of the OECD Convention is a critical step in the fight against international corruption as most major multinational companies have their headquarters in OECD countries.

He stated that effective enforcement would substantially reduce the supply side of international corruption. Speaking on Tuesday from the OECDI NEPAD/ TI Investment Initiative conference in Addis Ababa, Eigen indicated that the dividends of effective enforcement are very real.

“Reducing the supply side of foreign bribery will make it much easier for African governments to improve the investment climate in their countries.”

“Our aim is to support the already existing national corruption initiatives like the Ethiopian Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission,” Mrs. Kathryn Gordon, Senior Economist at OECD told The Daily Monitor.

“The commission has the same objective as the UN, OECD and AU conventions on corruption, so we hope to work together.”

TI progress report has shown that enforcement is now underway in fifteen of the twenty-four countries covered, including most of the major exporting countries.

Prosecutions have been brought in eleven countries: Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA.

In four countries, Denmark, Finland, Mexico and the UK, there have been investigations into foreign bribery, but no cases have yet come before the courts.

Crime and Corruption

“Enforcement efforts must be stepped up substantially to achieve widespread recognition in the business community that foreign bribery does not pay. Currently only four countries have seen more than one foreign bribery prosecution.” the report stated.

“TI considers the results from most countries encouraging, but more needs to be done,” said Fritz Heimann, co-author of the report and a member of TI’s International Advisory Council and Chairman of TI-USA. “It is essential,” he continued, “that governments step up enforcement efforts to ensure that companies in OECD countries are left in no doubt that foreign bribery will be prosecuted.”

The Daily Monitor (Addis Ababa), March 10, 2005

Categories: Africa, Corruption, Odious Debts

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