Sunday, April 11

UK Companies scrambling to cover bribery provisions

What really got me upset with the entire British Aerospace issue was that despite it being found guilty, despite it paying hundreds of millions of dollars in fines, despite tens of investigations in various countries, not even ONE person was found guilty to be chucked in jail. Presumably this was done by invisible men. It is indeed a sad indictment of the company, its shareholders (I am not, I would not dream of investing in a company with such obvious political risks and horribly bad management, have a responsibility towards my kid’s wealth!) and the venal politicians who saved its bacon. Everybody profited from the corruption. Bah!, disgusting.

But as this report suggests, British companies are scrambling to learn more about the new corruption law and fix the problems. I agree with this.

An early sign that UK companies convicted of bribery could expect tough sanctions came last month when Lord Justice Thomas, the second most senior criminal judge, said corruption was “much more serious” than price-fixing, which attracts fines of tens of millions of pounds.

Corruption as a way to screw up poor countries is horrible. So many countries suffer from this scourge. If you ask me, this is not a victimless crime, this is a crime against society and frankly one should consider the punishment at par with criminal law. If one thinks that paying corruption monies is not victimless, then the opportunity cost of diverted monies in terms of non investment in education or health should tell you that it is indeed not victimless.

Also,  the report mentions that:

Defence and energy companies are obvious targets after high-profile corruption investigations, such as at BAE Systems. But utilities, telecoms, pharmaceuticals and consumer goods are also vulnerable sectors, say experts.

Good, the British sectors which are high export oriented or globally oriented should become a force for good, stand up for standards. And for those who say that we will be disadvantaged because others do it, do you remember what we did when slavery was widespread in the world? We went and established law in 1772 when Lord Mansfield declared that slavery was illegal. We even went to war and fought for it. Even regime change was done by our forces. We can become the standard bearers of anti corruption across the world.

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