Ireland making ‘little or no’ effort to curb corruption – report
Ireland has made “little or no” effort over the past four years to create a corruption-free playing field for global trade, violating its “obligation to combat cross-border bribery”, reports the Irish Times.
The Transparency International Exporting Corruption report, released on Thursday, found that Ireland, along with countries such as Russia, Mexico, Israel and Colombia, has made limited efforts to investigate or prosecute foreign bribery cases under the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Anti-Bribery Convention.
The OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, which came into force in 1999 and was ratified by Ireland in 2003, was established to curb global corruption and criminalise bribery of foreign public officials in international business transactions.
According to the latest Transparency International study, carried out by group and experts in foreign bribery, only four of the 41 countries that signed the convention are actively investigating and prosecuting companies that bribe foreign officials.
“By signing up to the OECD anti-bribery convention, governments commit to investigate and prosecute cross-border corruption, yet nearly half of signatory governments are not doing so,” said Transparency International chair José Ugaz.
“The OECD must ensure real consequences for such poor performance. Violation of international law obligations to counter cross-border corruption cannot be tolerated.”
Ireland is one of 20 nations, along with Japan, Russia, Poland, Turkey, Israel and Colombia, listed as making “little or no” effort to curb foreign bribery cases, including money laundering, tax-evasion and fraud, due to “a lack of political will and inadequate resources”.
These 20 countries make up 20.5 per cent of the world’s exports.
The report found the Irish State is in need of investigators with specialised training on foreign bribery and called for increased financial resources to ensure the investigation and prosecution of companies involved in bribery.
The availability of State information concerning investigations, court cases, judgements and the publication of enforcement data also continues to be a challenge, the study found.
Cross border bribery can have “enormous negative consequences” for populations of affected countries and nations should prioritise focusing on cases of grand corruption involving politicians and senior politicians, says Transparency International.
“Combating corruption is a dynamic, ever-changing struggle,” says the report. “Corrupt practices are becoming steadily more sophisticated”.
The report also called for increased protection of whistle-blowers who play a “central role in uncovering corruption” and bring to light suspected incidents of foreign bribery “in good faith”.
Germany, Switzerland, the UK and the United States are the four leading enforcers of the Convention followed by Italy, Canada, Australia, Austria, Norway and Finland who are classified as “moderate” enforcers.
The report found sanctions in Chile and Japan were “inadequate”, applications for sanctions in France were “too lenient” and that Russia had changed its criminal code to reduce the size of penalties for receiving or giving bribes.