The OECD/Transparency International Progress Report into international bribery passed the world by there yesterday. Pity, it’s broadly positive.
On the Irish angle though, not so much. What’s new though, hey?
On the international comparisons Ireland is ranked in the lowest category for its efforts to deter the payment of bribes in the export/import markets. We’re categorised as having “little or no enforcement”. The experts of OECD/Transparency International point out that we do have ‘jurisdictional limitations’ (i.e. a porous border) but find that we lack sufficient legislation for criminal liability for corporations anyway; and once again that we’ve no whistleblower protection. The OECD also found fault with Ireland’s level of sanctions for foreign bribery and false accounting. Furthermore they question whether “the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigations is sufficiently trained and resourced to enforce the prohibition of foreign bribery”.
More worrying however is the country report. As you can see in table B and C or the PDF, Ireland is the only country examined with ‘null’ figures. This is because the Gardaí outright refuse to provide information to the OECD/TI team in relation to investigations carried out during the year.
The claim is any report would tip-off subjects that they are being investigated. Stunning; a ‘1’ – no further details! – on a TI report published annually would tip-off an person paying bribes? Gimme a break.
In compiling their figures Transparency International experts do also attempt to glean information from relevant media reports on investigations, but none were available for Ireland. This shows just how secretive the Garda Siochana is by international standards. Figures were calculable for Turkey, Estonia, Bulgaria, Chile and South Africa but not Ireland. We alone are the country with null figures in table B and C. This reflects poorly on the Gardai, the State and, to an extent, the media.
OECD/TI also express concern that the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill has yet to be enacted despite being due for implementation in January of this year. They recommend it be enacted as soon as possible. Who wouldn’t? Here’s hoping.
Maybe Paul Williams could look into international bribery for Transparency International’s 2011 report?