A report by a corruption watchdog Transparency International has singled out companies from Israel and China as the biggest bribe givers in the pursuit of government contracts.
According to the report, many foreign governments are not firm in entrenching anti-bribery laws.
Multinational companies exploit this enforcement loophole to advance bribes to influential government officers.
“While China has criminalized the bribery of foreign public officials, in line with obligations under the UN Convention against Corruption, there has been no known enforcement against foreign corrupt practices by its companies, citizens and or residents,” the TI states in the report, which seeks to assess progress of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) anti-bribery convention.
On Chinese participation in corruption activities, the report notes that China sustains bribery activities even as its companies face a global backlash in places such as Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Zambia, and the United States.
Transparency International Executive Director, Kenya Chapter, Samuel Kimeu adds that these allegations are alarming given the extremely high cost of running irregularly awarded contracts.
"Runaway graft in public contracting is robbing taxpayers of value for money in publicly funded projects because they mostly result in poor workmanship”, noted Mr.Kimeu
Additionally, the TI official noted that many actors in government contracting activities had taken up corruption as a business component. This way of doing business ends up hurting genuine merchants, according to Kimeu.
Despite Kenya enacting harsh laws guiding corruption activities, bribe levels were still high as highlighted by the report.
The report singles out China as the world’s largest exporter of corruption. To counter this narrative and reality, Kimeu notes that harsher actions against Chinese companies can aid in suppressing corruption.
“(China) should acknowledge the influence of its companies in terms of how they conduct business in foreign markets,” the TI report indicates.
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