Stop watering down anti-corruption legislation

Stop watering down anti-corruption legislation

At a time when governments around the world are speaking out about making the financial system more to stop criminal activity diverting money from government coffers, news that the UK is considering its new Bribery Act, just two years after it became law .

In the US both the , which represents thousands of businesses, and the , have been working overtime to weaken the and the Dodd-Frank includes provisions to increase transparency in the financial system and ensure that companies published more information about how and where they do business. The FCPA targets bribery of foreign officials.

Costs v. Benefits

There are legitimate arguments that regulations can impose costs, particularly on small and medium sized business. This is apparently the reason for the review – but the issue of too much bureaucracy can easily be hijacked. Companies should not use it as an excuse to allow themselves the leeway to pay bribes or to abrogate their commitments to transparency.

In the UK, the Bribery Act was introduced to counter criticism from the OECD, the group of the world’s leading economies, that the UK did not comply with . The Convention makes it illegal for a company to bribe an official in a foreign country. Public opinion in Britain would be scandalised by an oil company from abroad trying to bribe a UK politician, or a junior government official.

It is too soon to tell how well the UK Bribery Act will work in practice. Businesses, particularly small and medium sized firms, are still coming to grips with what it means. In a recent survey by Ernst & Young, it found that although business with revenues of more than £50 million are aware of the Act, half of the smaller businesses surveyed were not.

So far, there have been . However, this does not mean that its provisions should be prematurely altered. The call should be for enforcement. According to reports, the UK government is considering reviewing the section on ‘, otherwise known as bribes. No matter what the working definition is: bribes should always be illegal.

A decade of research from and others has shown the damage that bribe-paying does to economies. This damage is not just to economic growth, by embedding the power of corrupt elites who prioritise personal enrichment over economic development, but to ordinary citizens.

Anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws are designed to stop this abuse of power. Bribes distort the free market, which cannot be in the long-term interests of a well-run company. Moreover, if a company can only win a contract by breaking national and international law, its board of directors should question whether its executives are operating a sustainable business model, one that will attract customers and investors alike.

For any press enquiries please contact [email protected]


Support Transparency International

The alarming message of Egypt’s constitutional amendments

Parliamentarians in Egypt look set to approve a series of constitutional amendments this week that, if passed, would consolidate power in the office of the president, while restoring the military as the ultimate authority in the country.

Восточная Европа и Центральная Азия: слабая система сдержек и противовесов

Индекс восприятия коррупции (ИВК) за этот год представляет печальную картину касательно мер по борьбе с коррупцией в Восточной Европе и Центральной Азии. За несколько лет в этом регионе был достигнут очень незначительный прогресс в борьбе с коррупцией.

الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا: انتشار الفساد في ظل ضعف المؤسسات وتراجع الحقوق السياسية

كشف مؤشر مدركات الفساد 2018 عن صورة قاتمة لواقع الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا حيث أن معظم بلدان المنطقة قد أخفقت في مكافحة الفساد على الرغم من أن قلة قليلة من البلدان قد أحرزت تقدما تدريجيا.

Afrique subsaharienne:Les régimes non démocratiques sapent les efforts de lutte contre la corruption

L’Indice de perception de la corruption (IPC) présente cette année un tableau bien sombre de l’Afrique : seuls 8 pays sur 49 obtiennent un score supérieur à 43 sur les 100 points que compte l’Indice. Malgré l’engagement pris par les dirigeants africains de faire de 2018 l’Année africaine de lutte contre la corruption, les avancées concrètes se font encore attendre.

Trouble at the top: why high-scoring countries aren’t corruption-free

For the third year running, the top seven countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2018 consist of the four Nordic nations – Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway – plus New Zealand, Singapore and Switzerland. Yet that doesn’t mean that these countries are corruption-free.

Americas: el debilitamiento de la democracia y el auge del populismo

Con una puntuación media de 44 sobre 100 durante tres años consecutivos en el Índice de Percepción de la Corrupción (IPC), las Américas continúa sin lograr avances significativos en la lucha contra la corrupción.

Conflict at the bottom

As in previous years, many of the countries near the bottom of the 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index have been severely affected by violent conflict in recent years. Why is this the case, and what does it tell us?

Why rather

Follow us on Why rather