OECD REPORT: Anti-Bribery Progress Has Stalled

A new report from anti-corruption organisation Transparency Index (TI) reveals that there has been no improvement in enforcement of the organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Anti-Bribery Convention in the past year.

The annual progress report, titled ‘Enforcement of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention’, covers 37 countries. It concludes that for the first time in seven years of observation, no progress has been made in the number of countries that are enforcing the Convention’s stance against foreign bribery. As a result, TI says this could signal ‘a dangerous loss of momentum’ in the fight against corruption.

According to TI, there are seven countries with ‘active enforcement’ such as the US and UK. Meanwhile countries including Australia, Canada, Greece and Brazil were found to have ‘little or no enforcement’ of the convention.

The OECD Anti-Bribery Convention aims to reduce corruption in developing countries through sanctions against bribery in international business. TI cites the World Bank in pegging the cost of corruption worldwide at $1 trillion a year. Additionally, corrupt money associated with bribes received by public officials in developing and transition countries is between $20 billion and $40 billion a year.

Bruce Casino a securities law expert and partner at Washington, DC-based law firm Katten Muchin Rosenman, says that a number of countries hit hard by the global recession, such as Greece, saw their scores on implementing corruption enforcement fall.

‘Also, the results here show that nations need to create a level business playing field by adopting and enforcing rigorous anti-corruption laws such as the FCPA and the UK’s new Bribery Act,’ Casino notes. ‘Expect that corporate officers and directors will increasingly be enforcement targets of these laws, which have a global reach.’

Implementation of the anti-bribery convention is monitored by the OECD Working Group on Bribery. Currently, China, India and Russia are not signatories to the convention.

[Article by Aarti Maharaj, Corporate Secretary]