Lagos, Nigeria – The governments of major exporting nations must do more to stop their multinational companies from bribing their way into international markets, the anti-corruption group Transparency International said Monday in a report on enforcement of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.
According to the report, Exporting corruption – OECD progress report 2013 – 30 of the 40 countries signed up to the convention are barely investigating and prosecuting foreign bribery, considering the large value of their exports.
“The 40 countries, which represent more than two thirds of global exports, would make it very hard to get away with bribery if they lived up to the requirements of the OECD anti-bribery convention,” Transparency International Chair Huguette Labelle said in a statement on the report.
Countries fail to enforce foreign bribery rules for several reasons, including: budget cuts in enforcement agencies, a lack of specialised bodies to investigate foreign bribery and a failure to take advantage of existing deterrents.
According to the global anti-corruption body, only eight countries have met their commitments under the Convention.
”The failure of so many countries to crack down on companies that bribe foreign governments imperils the 1997 agreement,” Transparency International warned.
It said the countries actively enforcing the Convention only account for 26 per cent of global exports, and that if countries that accounted for 50 per cent of global exports were actively enforcing the OECD Convention, then it could be considered a success.
The Berlin-based Transparency International said 20 countries, including G20 members Brazil, Japan, South Korea and The Netherlands, have done little or nothing to hold companies and business people to account for bribing foreign governments.
It also called on major exporters China, India,Indonesia and Saudi Arabia to sign the OECD convention.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Convention is an agreement among 40 major exporting countries to stop the practice of bribing foreign governments – to win contracts and licences or dodge taxes and local laws, for example.