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Arms, Building Sectors Prone To Giving Bribes


ARMS, BUILDING SECTORS PRONE TO GIVING BRIBES

PORT MORESBY: Papua New Guinean anti-corruption advocate Sir Anthony Siaguru has warned that the construction and arms industries are seen as the business sectors with the greatest propensity to pay bribes to government officials in emerging market economies, the National reports.

Sir Anthony, who heads the PNG chapter of Transparency International (TI), the leading anti-corruption watchdog, said in a statement that this TI finding was based on in-depth interviews by Gallup International with more than 770 business executives, lawyers, accountants, bankers and officials of chambers of commerce in 14 leading emerging market countries.

On a scoring basis of 0 to 10, with 0 indicating great willingness to pay bribes and 10 indicating the opposite, the public works and construction sector scored 1.5, followed by firms in the arms and defence industry with 2.0 and then corporations in the power business (including petroleum and energy) with 3.5.

The report was released at the weekend by TI chairman Peter Eigen in Berlin, Germany.

"This is our first business sector survey and the results indicate great willingness by many international firms to bribe senior government officials around the world," Mr Eigen said.

"While firms in mining and manufacturing and in healthcare appear less willing to use bribes than in construction and defence, they too are seen as widely using bribes in their foreign business dealings. Bribery by international corporations is weakening national economies, creating great waste of scarce public funds and encouraging large-scale abuse of public office by high level civil servants and politicians."

Sir Anthony said in Port Moresby that certainly both the defence and the construction industries in PNG have been found to be corrupt.

"The commission of inquiry into the Sandline affair revealed widespread corruption in PNG's Defence Department. Currently, the Works Department, which deals extensively with the construction industry, is under investigation for mismanagement of funds.

"The survey results should serve as a warning to us in Papua New Guinea. We should note the danger areas and strengthen our resolve to take stringent measures to safeguard these sectors of defence and public works contracts against the ravages of corruption."

Foreign exporters offering bribes are putting their own employees at risk of severe penalties as they appear to ignore the 1997 OECD Anti-Bribery Convention that makes the bribery of foreign officials illegal. "Companies doing business abroad will have to wake up to the reality that foreign bribery now is a crime," Mr Eigen said. "Only a fraction of the international business executives questioned indicated awareness of the new Convention, or corporate plans to comply with the new international anti-corruption rules."

PNG is not a signatory to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, but Sir Anthony, a former foreign affairs secretary, called on Foreign Affairs Minister Sir John Kaputin to consider the issue carefully.

"Sir John has a deep personal knowledge of the European Union which forms the bulk of the OECD, and so he should be in a position to appreciate how important the Anti-Bribery Convention can be for Papua New Guinea to ensure reciprocity in enforcing measures to reduce or eliminate trans-border corruption," he said.

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