No enforcement to check foreign bribery in India

A Transparency International report wants New Delhi to introduce an "effective" law to protect whistle-blowers in the private sector.
Last Updated 14 September 2018, 07:25 IST

A Transparency International report on Wednesday said that India is among 22 countries that have little or no enforcement to check foreign bribery.

In its 2018 edition of Exporting Corruption Report, the private anti-corruption watchdog urged New Delhi to criminalise such under the table dealings.

It also wants India to introduce an "effective" law to protect whistle-blowers in the private sector, encourage company management to actively promote a corporate anti-corruption culture and publish an annual public overview detailing reported cases of foreign bribery and action taken.

Specifically picking up India, China, Hing Kong and Singapore, which have not ratified the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, the report said, if these countries "do not enforce hard-won international standards for conducting business, competitors from countries that do enforce will find themselves disadvantaged".

"This may lead to a reduction in enforcement, destabilising the global marketplace," it said adding, "In this 2018 report, China, Hong Kong, India and Singapore— all with 2% or more of world exports, but not parties to the OECD (Anti-Bribery) Convention— are classified for the first time and all fall into the lowest level (little or no enforcement)."

This poor performance argues for these countries' accession to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, it said.

Other countries which find their names in the list include Japan, South Korea, Spain, Mexico, Russia, Belgium, Ireland, Poland, Turkey, Denmark, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Finland, Colombia, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Estonia.

On India, the report said there are "no known" foreign bribery cases or investigations during 2014-17 though media research indicated that there are a few investigations and enforcement actions against Indian entities and individuals by foreign governments in connection with reported bribery of foreign officials.

It has also referred to the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam.

"As foreign bribery is not yet criminalised in India, the adequacy of the enforcement system in relation to this specific offence cannot be assessed. However, certain shortcomings in the enforcement system, in particular, those evident from current enforcement of domestic corruption, are also a concern for foreign bribery enforcement," the report said.

"In particular, while the Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act prescribe criminal and civil liability for domestic corruption, the reality is that actions taken against the perpetrators have been few," it added.

(Published 12 September 2018, 13:55 IST)

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