Is Bribery part of your Culture?

In response to my blogpost on Ethical Challenges, yesterday I received a comment from a friend, asking; “…….to-date the problems remains the definition of “ethics” between various cultures and countries. And the questions remains how would you eradicate that (culture)? A classic example of this was the Qatari and their winning bid for 2022 World Cup”. Referring to Mohamed bin Hammam, a former Qatari vice-president of FIFA, who used secret slush funds to make dozens of payments totaling more than five million dollars to senior football officials to boost support for Qatar’s World Cup bid.

An investigative report by The New York Times uncovered a web of extortion and bribery that allegedly permeated the Walmart’s Mexican operation. In the report, the newspaper alleges that Walmart executives, using “gestores,” or Mexican middleman, bribed bureaucrats in order to expedite the acquisition of building permits that enabled the company to scale rapidly. The alleged bribes totaled more than $8 million over several years. Is corruption and bribery, in business and in personal life, a fate accepted by most Mexicans as well as many foreign entrepreneurs? I also read that in 2006, a poll conducted by CEI Consulting and Research showed that 87 percent of Mexicans will have paid some sort of bribe by the time they die.

Let’s look at rankings for Sri Lanka, with a score of 37 points out of 100, has been ranked at the 91st place among 177 countries in the Transparency International’s annual global Corruption Perception Index (CPI) for 2013. In 2002, Sri Lanka was ranked 52 and Sri Lanka has become more corrupt in 2013 dropping 12 notches from previous year’s 79th place rank.

Bribery & corruption is an issue in many developed countries as well. Sometime ago, in the US the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) directed that all active contracts and task orders with Advanced Solutions for Tomorrow, Inc. (ASFT), a Georgia firm whose president has been charged with fraud against the government, be discontinued. The difference with such countries is that, this action sets a precedent within the Department, and sends a strong message. In Japan, the person will commit suicide if accused!

Therefore, we may find that in Latin America, Middle East, most of Asia including Russia many ethical issues are accepted as normal business practice. It’s accepted as fate. However, it does not change the definition of ethics. It could be reduced if governments take the route of the USA’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the 1977 law enacted to prevent foreign corruption, The EU approach for Anti Bribery & Corruption, The Indian political backlash on corruption, etc. It should not be allowed to be part of our culture to bribe!


About surenraj

“Views expressed are my own”
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