OECD countries fail to combat briberySeptember 2015
Major exporting countries are failing to combat cross-border bribery, according to anti-corruption group Transparency International’s (TI) latest report.
TI has found that 22 of the 41 OECD anti-bribery convention countries have failed to investigate or prosecute any foreign bribery case during the last four years, however it also shares the good news that four countries have improved their enforcement efforts. The report also found that only one country slid back.
“By signing up to the OECD anti-bribery convention, governments commit to investigate and prosecute cross-border corruption, yet nearly half of signatory governments are not doing so,” said Transparency International chair José Ugaz. “The OECD must ensure real consequences for such poor performance. Violation of international law obligations to counter cross-border corruption cannot be tolerated.”
The 20 countries with little or no enforcement make up 20.4% of world exports. These countries are failing to investigate and prosecute cross-border bribery due to a lack of political will and inadequate resources allocated toward enforcement measures and investigations, maintains TI. There are 12 convention countries, including some old democracies, where effective political influence or its risk hinders the work of the criminal justice system.
Insufficient sanctions foreseen by law or imposed in practice to deter foreign bribery also hamper enforcement efforts in 21 countries. The OECD Foreign Bribery Report, published in December 2014, indicates that significant sanctions were imposed in only 17 of 41 countries. In Russia, changes to the criminal code in 2015 reduced the size of penalties for receiving or giving bribes, including those relating to foreign officials.
The four leading enforcers (Germany, Switzerland, UK and US) completed 215 cases and started 59 new cases from 2011-2014. The other 35 countries completed 30 and started 63. Twenty countries have not brought any criminal charges for major cross-border corruption by companies in the last four years.
Since the 2014 progress report, Norway has improved to “Moderate Enforcement” from “Limited Enforcement”. Greece, Netherlands and South Korea have improved to “Limited Enforcement” from “Little or No Enforcement”. Argentina is the only country to decline – moving from “Limited Enforcement” to “Little or No Enforcement”.
Six of the countries in the G20 are in the “Little or No Enforcement” category, meaning they are failing to meet the goals set in the G20’s Anti-Corruption Action Plan 2015-2016.
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