Last week Transparency International (TI) released its
Bribe Payors Index 2011 (Index). It represents the fifth such report issued by
TI, the most recent previously released in 2008. In the introduction, TI says
that the Index "ranks 28 of the world's largest economies according to the
perceived likelihood of companies from these countries to pay bribes abroad. It
is based on the views of business executives as captured by Transparency
International's 2011 Bribe Payers Survey. The countries and territories ranked
in the Index cover all regions of the world and represent almost 80 per cent of
the total world outflow of goods, services and investments." It also relates
the perception of bribery "across business sectors."
TI released the report because it believes that "bribery
has significant adverse effects on public well-being around the world. It
distorts the fair awarding of contracts, reduces the quality of basic public
services, limits opportunities to develop a competitive private sector and
undermines trust in public institutions. Engaging in bribery also creates
instability for companies themselves and presents ever-growing reputational and
financial risks. This is particularly relevant in light of recent anti-bribery
reforms in a number of key countries around the world, such as in China and the
UK." It ends with its recommendations which both the private sector and
governments can do to help lessen or eradicate the "prevalence of foreign
bribery around the world."
The survey for the Index asked more than 3,000 business
executives (Respondents) worldwide about their views on the extent to which
companies from 28 of the world's leading economies engage in bribery when doing
business abroad. The score for each country is based on the views of the business
executives who had come into contact with companies from that country. At the
bottom of the list were companies from Russia and China which were perceived to
be "the most likely" to engage in bribery abroad.
The Index had five key findings.
The Index ended with recommendations for both companies
and governments. While I found some of the recommendations for both groups
unrealistic, I do believe that several are realistic and can be reached so that
a company can remain competitive.
For companies, such recommendations include:
For governments, such recommendations include:
I found the TI Index report to be quite enlightening and
useful. It will help inform the compliance practitioner on both the underlying
legal basis of many international anti-bribery and anti-corruption initiatives
and provide concrete steps to build or enhance a compliance program around. Its
larger role may be to inform government regulators on companies from countries
listed in the Index or market sectors which may be more prone to bribery and
corruption. For laws which are both supply and consumer side based, such as the
UK Bribery Act, it may point regulators to companies and sectors which may well
bear scrutiny for companies over which they hold jurisdiction.
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© Thomas R. Fox, 2011
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