4.7.5 Paying "Lip Service"
Although UK law prevents bribery, many organisations may be tempted to "hide" the bribes paid by reclassifying them to what appears to be legitimate expenditure.*
Governments may be reluctant to take bribery prevention seriously. They may implement appropriate laws (to look good) and then fail to enforce them, or (as in some countries) use them selectively as a political weapon against opponents.
Where official salaries are low, government officials may only be able to survive by asking for and taking bribes. Many governments turn a blind eye to this as it keeps such officials loyal (e.g. police supplement meagre incomes by taking bribes).*
*See Illustration 1 about Siemens in Session 18 and www. guardian.co.uk/world/ bae, which covers the BAE Systems bribery scandal.
*As suggested earlier, such action cannot be considered sustainable. To overcome this embedded attitude, the government must lead from the very top in implementing a zero-tolerance policy towards public officials accepting bribes.
There is a strong correlation between the strength of a country's democratic institutions and the level of corruption and bribery which exists. Jurisdictions with low-level democratic principles (high level of autocratic, dictatorshiptype government) tend to have higher levels of corruption.*
*"The fish rots from the head", as the saying goes. In many non-democratic
jurisdictions, corruption is so pervasive throughout society, the whole fish is rotten.
In the US, Canada, most European countries, Australia, New Zealand, etc there are set procedures for reporting bribery and corruption suspicions to the appropriate authorities (as with money laundering). There also are "whistle-blowing" inducements, usually amounting to between 10% and 30% of the fine paid by the guilty organisation.
The lack of effective reporting procedures in some countries may make it difficult to build a suitable case for prosecution in the UK. A starting point would be reporting suspicions and providing evidence to the appropriate official at a British Embassy.
Also, those who would be able to report and provide evidence to the UK authorities may not be able to do so as they would not be protected by appropriate whistle-blowing laws in their country. They, in turn, may be prosecuted for breach of trust and confidentiality by the company.
The simple fear of retribution by a company or individuals often is a strong barrier which keeps individuals from reporting their concerns.*
*In the US, there is concern about Securities and Exchange Commission regulations which permit CPAs to be rewarded for reporting bribery and corruption and, if employed by an auditor, reporting their concerns about the audit of a client or bribery/ corruption suspicions about a client. This appears to override the ethical procedures already in place for use by CPAs by making it possible for the CPA to go immediately to the authorities. Some also consider that the CPA will be driven more by the potential reward rather than a public duty.