OECD demands stronger enforcement in fight against corruption

An OECD report claims that most governments are not meeting their international commitments to clamp down on bribery and corruption in international business, with only five signatories to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention having sanctioned individuals or companies in the past year, according to an OECD report released today.

The OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría will urge ministers and business leaders attending an OECD/G20 conference on the 27th and 28th April to step up enforcement and compliance with the landmark treaty.

“Despite some progress in the past year, we need to see clearer signs that all countries are committing the political leadership and resources that effective enforcement requires,” Mr. Gurría said. “The US and Germany continue to set the benchmark in the fight against corruption that more countries must follow. It’s encouraging that France, Switzerland and the UK were active last year in sanctioning bribery.”

Five of the 38 nations that are signatories to the Convention imposed penalties on individuals or firms last year: the U.S. sanctioned 8 individuals and 11 companies; Germany sanctioned 3 individuals; France and Switzerland 1 individual; and the UK 2 individuals and 1 company. 260 investigations are currently ongoing in Convention countries.

Since the Convention came into force into 1999, 199 individuals and 91 companies have been sanctioned for foreign bribery offenses. But most parties to the Convention have yet to sanction any individual or company.

G20 countries adopted at their Seoul Summit in November 2010 an Anti-Corruption Action Plan for “combating corruption, promoting market integrity and supporting a clean business environment.” The Plan calls on G20 countries not Party to the Anti-Bribery Convention to more closely with the OECD Working Group on Bribery or join the Convention. The countries are China, India, Indonesia, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Russia asked to join the Convention in February 2009. China passed laws to criminalise foreign bribery in February 2011. Indonesia prepared draft legislation in March 2011 and a bill has been presented to the Indian parliament to prohibit bribes to foreign public officials.

The OECD Working Group in Bribery Annual Report is available at here.

Should you wish to discuss any aspects of this, or receive information, training or guidance on the forthcoming UK Bribery Act, please contact any of the team at BGP.