There is no excuse for bribery
Bribery is one of the most direct and damaging forms of corruption worldwide. It is a threat to democracy and the rule of law, and it’s a major obstacle to fair economic development in poorer countries.
It’s also a major repetitional risk for companies, and Australian trade and investment.
Australian companies involved in mining, construction, and infrastructure are particularly exposed to corruption risks, and are exposed by gaps in our foreign bribery framework.
Australia has a poor track-record in prosecuting foreign bribery and our investigative and enforcement agencies are not sufficiently equipped to go after individuals.
Transparency International’s latest Exporting Corruption report finds Australia continues to lag in efforts to stop foreign bribery.
According to this research, Australia is only rated a ‘moderate enforcer’. Between 2018-2021, Australia opened eight foreign bribery investigations, commenced seven cases and concluded five cases with sanctions.
Transparency International Australia is calling for the Australian Government to:
- Pass the proposed amendments to the Criminal Code Act 1995
- Create a Deferred Prosecution Agreement scheme to improve detection of bribery cases.
- Enhance detection and reporting of foreign bribery by financial and non-financial professions to be made subject to Anti-Money Laundering requirements
Additionally, we’d like to see
- stronger protections for whistleblowers, who play a key role in detecting foreign bribery offences
- published statistics on foreign bribery investigations, prosecutions and case outcomes
- A debarment regime granting agencies the power to preclude companies found guilty of foreign bribery offences from being awarded contracts
- A wider scope of international legal cooperation (Mutual Legal Assistance laws) to allow countries to more effectively investigate, prosecute and sanction this crime.
Transparency International’s latest foreign bribery report, Exporting Corruption, is out now.
The latest foreign bribery assessment finds most of the world’s top exporting countries are not doing enough to stop foreign bribery, and many are sliding backwards.
The research finds Australia also continues to lag in efforts to stop foreign bribery.