Singapore Corruption Scam

“Classic Consultancy Scam”

Issued by Transparency International Secretariat



The recent activities of some international companies in Singapore are a classic text-book case of how much international corruption is operating, says the Berlin-based international anti-corruption organisation, Transparency International (TI).

The organisation, which yesterday applauded the concept of the Singapore government in blacklisting five international companies, was commenting in the light of further press revelations concerning the case.

"Around the world, international companies are daily paying huge and professionally unjustified 'consultancy fees' so that when trouble comes they feel able to claim not to have had any idea that their consultants were using this money as a slush fund to bribe public officials," TI chairman, Peter Eigen, said in Berlin today (Friday).

"It strains belief that companies should seriously asking us to accept that they were paying millions of dollars to consultants yet remain oblivious to the fact that large proportions were being used to pay bribes. Even if this were so, it points to a remarkable absence of accountability between the parties involved", he continued.

"Fees have to be wildly out of line with legitimate expectations or there simply would not be the slack to use for them for major corruption," he remarked.

Dr Eigen said that the time has come for international business to start putting its own house in order. He pointed to the wider damage that companies can suffer, as competitors in other markets exploit a disgrace sustained in one market as a reason why other governments should refuse to do business with those named.

"The excuse that corrupt payments are needed to sustain domestic employment, never justifiable as corruption always discriminates against the honest trader, has a particularly hollow ring when jobs are actually lost as companies are barred from traditional markets", he said.

Transparency International said that change is "in the wind" but not yet "around the corner".

"We have been initiating discussions with business leaders across Europe aimed at raising consciousness of the damage done by corruption to all concerned - and especially to the people in the third world. There is no doubt that responsible business leaders want action to end these practices, but that they are inhibited by a fear of losing market share to less reputable competitors," Dr Eigen explained.

"This is a legitimate concern, and so we are working on a concept of "islands of integrity" which would see the cancer of corruption cut out from transactions in particular markets and in particular areas," he said. "This will call for confidence-building and co-operation between international business and the governments of the countries who are seriously trying to address corruption, and a serious commitment from firms active in the areas in question to stamp out undesirable practices," he said.

There will also needed to be mechanisms which will provide protection for companies who genuinely try to keep their sales staff and consultants under control but who, through no fault of the companies, are tempted to misbehave. "However, a legal requirement that all consultants' fees must be disclosed as part of the tender process will go a long way towards getting the present monster under control," Dr Eigen concluded.


For any press enquiries please contact

In Germany
Prof. Dr. Peter Eigen, Chairman
Dr. Hanjörg Elshorst, Managing Director
tel. + (49 30) 343 8200
fax + (49 30) 3470 3912
e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
http://www.transparency.org

Latest

Support Transparency International

Three priorities at the Open Government Partnership summit

This week, the Open Government Partnership is holding its 5th global summit in Tbilisi, Georgia. Transparency International is there in force, pushing for action in three key areas.

Civil society’s crucial role in sustainable development

Key players in the development community are meeting in New York for the main United Nations conference on sustainable development, the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF). Transparency International is there to highlight how corruption obstructs development and report on how effectively countries are tackling this issue.

Comment gagner la lutte contre la corruption en Afrique

Aujourd’hui est la Journée africaine de lutte contre la corruption – une occasion opportunité pour reconnaitre le progrès dans la lutte contre la corruption en Afrique et le travail significatif qui reste encore à accomplir.

How to win the fight against corruption in Africa

African Anti-Corruption Day is an important opportunity to recognise both the progress made in the fight against corruption in Africa and the significant work still left to do.

Increasing accountability and safeguarding billions in climate finance

In December 2015, governments from around the world came together to sign the Paris Agreement, agreeing to tackle climate change and keep global warming under two degrees centigrade. They committed to spend US$100 billion annually by 2020 to help developing countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and protect themselves against the potentially devastating effects of climate change.

After Gürtel, what next for Spain’s struggle with political corruption?

At the start of June, the Spanish parliament voted to oust Prime Minister Rajoy after his political party was embroiled in the biggest corruption scandal in Spain’s democratic history. At this critical juncture in Spain’s struggle with political corruption, Transparency International urges all parties to join forces against impunity and support anti-corruption efforts in public life.

Risk of impunity increases with outcome of Portuguese-Angolan corruption trial

A verdict last week by the Lisbon Court of Appeals in the trial of former Angolan vice president Manuel Vicente has disappointed hopes for a triumph of legal due process over politics and impunity. It also has worrying implications for the independence of Portugal’s judiciary.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media