Corruption continues to corrode the global economy, 18 years after member governments of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) signed a convention that establishes legally binding standards to criminalize the bribery of public officials. Since then, a growing number of governments have passed anti-bribery and corruption (ABC) laws. The U.S. is no longer the lone policeman on the beat; the UK and other European governments have implemented anti-corruption regulations too, as have emerging economies including China and Brazil.
Despite tougher enforcement of regulations to combat bribery and corruption, illicit payments to counter-parties continue to burden economies, diverting resources from people and places where they could do most good. In 2013 the World Bank estimated2 that the amount of bribes worldwide totals $1 trillion a year. Companies may consider themselves sandwiched between counter-parties asking for bribes and regulations attempting to curb the practice, but this would be a mistake. Rather than succumbing to a sense of victimhood, every company needs to ask itself some fundamental questions about why they are in business and what it‘s going to take to conduct business ethically everywhere.
This report, based on a global survey of 659 respondents around the world, offers insights into the challenges they face complying with this new world of ABC regulation and the pressures of looking the other way when a third party acts as intermediary for the bribe. For their part, companies are taking the initiative to many levels to curb corruption, from the lonely outpost in a far-off country to a multilateral effort to raise business standards.
About the authors
Petrus Marais is a director with KPMG in South Africa and the Global Head of Forensic.
Jimmy Helm is a parther with KPMG in Central & Eastern Europe and Global Head of Anti-Bribery & Corruption Services.