« Morning Smoke: Committee to Scrutinize Federal Response to AIG Collapse | Main | Five Areas of Government In Need of Reform »

Jan 27, 2010


Barry Grossman

Anyone who spends 100 or so hours wading through the mountains of nonsense available over the internet about Foreign Corrupt Practices and Bribery of Foreign Officials will eventually realize that the millions of printed words on this subject come almost exclusively from:

1. Legal and Accounting Professionals selling compliance programs;
2, Well meaning academics debating legal niceties or doing generalised historical studies; and
3. Bureaucrats who would have us believe that the OECD and UN schemes for ostensibly criminalizing corrupt foreign practices are little more than a PR exercise by first world nations.

The reality is that there is no meaningful enforcement of foreign bribery legislation in signatory countries. I challenge anyone to contradict this assertion. In fact, in 10 years there has been fewer than 200 convictions world wide under the OECD scheme and almost all convictions occurred in only 5 countries, with most of the 38 signatory countries having had no prosecutions at all. In fact there is not even an international agency or mechanism through which individulas can report cases of bribery, let alone instances in which law enforcement agencies in signatory countries have refused to investigate clear cases of froeign bribery.

Some estimates claim that bribe payments account for up tp 3% of global economic activity. We know that corruption and bribery is rampant in developing countries throughout South America, Africa and Asia. Yet in 10 years there has been less than 200 convictions under the OECD scheme world wide. That is an outrage. Are the OECD and UN schemes that traget foreign corrupt practices just a hoax?

The only message going out loud and clear is that if businesses elect to advance their interests by bribing foreign officials, they face almost no tangible risk of criminal prosecution in their own jurisdiction. Indeed, while I am no statistician, I imagine the odds of ever being prosecuted for bribing a foreign public official are smaller than the odds that radiation from our sun will cause the earth to collapse on itself in 2012.

It is not my intention to insult anyone, but maybe those people who are making a global industry out of talking about FCP legislation should spare us yet more rhetoric and drivel that seems to be more about carrer advancement than anything else, or alternatively start saying something a bit more meaningful.

Ms Sparky

Great job of keeping the spot light on these criminal contractors. The way things are going there won't be any contractors left to support the DoD. The only common factor with all these contractors is the lack of DoD oversight.

The DoD should be held accountable at some level.

Ms Sparky

The comments to this entry are closed.