The decision by the Council of the OECD meeting in Paris yesterday (22 May) to re-examine the tax deductibility of bribes to foreign public officials and to criminalise such bribery has been welcomed by Transparency International (TI), the Berlin-based NGO campaigning against bribery in international business transactions.
The organisation claims that corruption on the part of OECD exporters has long been a major factor in distorting development and contributing to a deepening of poverty in the third world.
The move yesterday to combat this was described by TI´s chairman, Peter Eigen, as "an historic start to a long journey".
He stressed that the recommendation was a beginning, and that difficult though it was to achieve agreement on the broad principles for action, achieving a consensus on active practical implementation would be even more challenging.
"A battle has been won, but the war will go on," he said, pledging that TI, through its national chapters, will continue to monitor events closely and to make the case for effective and meaningful action.
Working groups are now being formed by his organisation of international experts in law and accounting. These will work closely and informally with members of the OECD committees charged with following up yesterday´s decisions.
In a further development the Council also endorsed a report of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) which targets corruption in aid projects.
"This, too, is highly encouraging", said Dr Eigen, "Particularly as the resolution was supported in strong terms by the German Vice Minister of Cooperation, Klaus-Juergen Hedrich, who urged agreement to fight all forms of corruption, not just in international aid projects."
Dr Eigen said that this was a welcome development in German policy, and he endorsed Minister Hedrich´s view that only joint and determined action against corruption could dispell the fear of competitive disadvantages and ensure the credibility of industrialised nations.
For any press enquiries please contact
Prof. Dr. Peter Eigen, Chairman
Mr. Jeremy Pope, Executive Director
tel. + (49 30) 343 8200
fax + (49 30) 3470 3912