OECD says South Africa can do better on bribery, but don’t forget the tax havens

July 19th, 2010

Cape Town, South Africa | Photo by Thomas Sly

The OECD Working Group on Bribery stated that “South Africa should step up its efforts to detect, investigate and prosecute cases of bribery in international business deals” in a new report released today by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The report also encourages South Africa to:

  • Raise awareness of the fight against foreign bribery in both the public and private sector;
  • Boost existing law enforcement resources and training dedicated to fighting complex economic crimes, including foreign bribery offences, and enhance coordination among the police and prosecution authorities to combat foreign bribery more effectively;
  • Ensure that companies engaging in foreign bribery are duly held liable; and
  • Ensure that Article 5 of the Convention, which prohibits considerations of national economic interest, relations with another state, and the identity of individuals or companies when prosecuting foreign bribery, applies effectively to all investigative and prosecutorial decisions in foreign bribery cases.

These are all admirable suggestions, however, it will be very difficult for South Africa to implement all of the recommendations effectively unless we bring about more transparency in the international financial system.  The many secrecy-jurisdictions around the world will happily continue to facilitate bribery unless we change the way we’re doing things and:

Until we accomplish these goals at an international level, it will remain all too easy for corruption to thrive in international business.

Written by Clark Gascoigne

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