Bribery of public officials – or the giving or promise of any valuable consideration to an official, in order to influence or corrupt their performance of an official or public duty – is well recognized as one of the most direct and damaging forms of corruption, worldwide.
Fighting the bribery of foreign officials by companies and businesses seeking to do business in that country, is a particularly important way to counter corruption, both domestically and internationally. As recognized by the Australian Attorney-General’s Department, foreign bribery results in ‘inefficient allocation of resources and economic distortions’ and ‘is a threat to democracy and the rule of law, corrosive of good governance and an impediment to economic development’.
Australia, like other developed countries, has both a self-interest and an obligation to tackle the problem of cross-border bribery. This is recognised by G20 leaders, for whom combating bribery remains an important priority in the G20 growth agenda. Effective action to prevent, investigate and prosecute bribery helps level the playing field for business and gives the private sector the confidence to invest in infrastructure and other growth-producing projects.