Skip to main content

India among 19 worst countries 'failing' to criminalise bribery of foreign officials: Study

Counterview Desk

A new report, “Exporting Corruption”, published by Berlin-based non-profit Transparency International, regrets that although India has been a party to the UN Convention against Corruption since 2011, it has yet to meet the Article 16 obligations to define and criminalise foreign bribery, adding, the country’s legal framework suffers from shortcomings which affect its capacity to prevent and prosecute foreign bribery.
Pointing out that corruption has different facets along with normal “give and take”, with bribery of foreign public officials being regarded as an emerging form of corruption across the globe, the report brackets India’s inaction against foreign bribery and related money laundering with that of China and Hong Kong special administrative region (SAR), pointing out India is in category of Little or no Enforcement.
Other highlights of the report include, In the period 2016-2019, India initiated no investigations of foreign bribery, commenced no cases and concluded no cases, pointing out, India has been placed in the worst bracket of Little or No Enforcement along with 19 others countries which contribute 36.5% of the total global export.

A note by NGO Agam on the report:

A new study by Transparency International published on October 13, 2020 rates 47 countries on how actively they fulfil their obligation to investigate, prosecute and punish companies that bribe officials in foreign countries.
The report, “Exporting Corruption 2020”, evaluates signatories to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention as well as China, the world’s biggest exporter, and India, Singapore and Hong Kong, large export markets which are not signatories to the OECD Convention but are parties to the UN Convention against Corruption. In total, the countries and territories reviewed are responsible for more than 80 per cent of world exports.
The report features country briefs on each of the jurisdictions covered and makes specific recommendations to governments and the international community for improving enforcement.
The Indian government does not publish any statistics on its foreign bribery enforcement and does not disclose such statistics on request. The authorities do not disclose any information about unpublished cases related to bribery of foreign public officials by Indians.
India even after several anti-corruption development i.e. appointment of the first Lokpal (Ombudsman), Amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act, The Companies (Amendment) Act, 2017, The Whistleblowers Protection Act 2014 and many more, failed to implement active enforcement. India still has a long way to go in meeting their obligations. Despite of several scandals India has experienced, bribery continues to be used by companies from major exporting countries to win business in foreign markets.
Corruption in international business transactions undermines government institutions, misdirects public resources, and slows economic and social development. It distorts cross-border investment, deters fair competition in international trade and discriminates against small and medium-sized enterprises.
As foreign bribery is not yet criminalised in India, the adequacy of the enforcement system in relation to this specific offence cannot be assessed. However, certain shortcomings in the enforcement system evident from current enforcement of domestic corruption, would also be a concern for foreign bribery enforcement. While the Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act prescribe criminal and civil liability for domestic corruption, the reality is that actions taken against the perpetrators have been far and few in between.
There are multiple agencies in India involved in investigation of cases related to corruption, fraud etc.and coordination among agencies is seen as the biggest challenge in timely prosecution of the offenders.
The high-profile investigations get delayed due to political interreferences. The Indian investigating agencies are short staff and many of them lack skills to investigate white collar crime and other economic offences. The investigation of transnational crimes especially those linked with corruption, money laundering are delayed due to lack of timely coordination with foreign investigating agencies, it has been area of concern for long and has been unaddressed till date.
Recommendation for priority actions:
  • Publish statistics and court decisions on enforcement against corruption.
  • Introduce a public register of beneficial ownership. 
  • Pass legislation criminalising foreign bribery. 
  • Sign and ratify the OECD Anti-Corruption Convention. 
  • Extend coverage of whistleblower protection to the private sector. 
  • Pending legislation on foreign bribery, enforce against foreign bribery to the extent possible under existing legislation. 
  • Ensure better coordination among various investigation agencies. 
  • Enhance cooperation and information sharing with investigating agencies of other countries. 
  • Invest in training and capacity building of investigators and prosecutors. 
  • Engage with CSOs to raise awareness about corruption and whistleblowing. 
  • Publish an annual overview detailing reported cases of foreign bribery and action taken by the authorities. 
“Although India has been a party to the UN Convention against Corruption since 2011, it has yet to meet the Article 16 obligations to define and criminalise foreign bribery and the legal framework suffers from other shortcomings which affect India’s capacity to prevent and prosecute foreign bribery” says Ashutosh Kumar Mishra, lawyer, senior advisor at Agam and partners for Transparency Foundation India.

Comments

TRENDING

What's Bill Gates up to? Have 'irregularities' found in funding HPV vaccine trials faded?

By Colin Gonsalves*  After having read the 72nd report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on alleged irregularities in the conduct of studies using HPV vaccines by PATH in India, it was startling to see Bill Gates bobbing his head up and down and smiling ingratiatingly on prime time television while the Prime Minister lectured him in Hindi on his plans for the country. 

Muted profit margins, moderate increase in costs and sales: IIM-A survey of 1000 cos

By Our Representative  The Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad’s (IIM-A's) latest Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES) has said that the cost perceptions data obtained from India’s business executives suggests that there is “mild increase in cost pressures”.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Alleged killing of another Bangladesh youth inside Indian territory: NHRC inquiry sought

By Kirity Roy* There was yet another incident of the killing of a Bangladeshi youth by the Border Security Force personnel attached with ‘Barthar’ BOP of ‘G’ Company of 75 BSF Battalion. In last five years several incidents of killings happened under this police station’s jurisdiction and the cases will get the award as “Not Guilty” as usual.

Govt putting India's professionals, skilled, unskilled labour 'at mercy of' big business

By Thomas Franco, Dinesh Abrol*  As it is impossible to refute the report of the International Labour Organisation, Chief Economic Advisor Anantha Nageswaran recently said that the government cannot solve all social, economic problems like unemployment and social security. He blamed the youth for not acquiring enough skills to get employment. Then can’t the people ask, ‘Why do we have a government? Is it not the government’s responsibility to provide adequate employment to its citizens?’

IMA vs Ramdev: Why what's good or bad for goose should be good or bad for gander

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD* Baba Ramdev and his associate Balkrishna faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for their propaganda about their Ayurvedic products and belittling mainstream medicine. Baba Ramdev had to apologize in court. His apology was not accepted and he may face the contempt of court with harsher punishment. The Supreme Court acted on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Modi model, Hindutva icon 'justified' alliance with Muslim League before Independence

By Shamsul Islam*  Our PM describes himself as ‘Hindu’ nationalist and member of RSS. He proudly shares the fact that he was groomed to be a political leader by one of the two fathers of the Hindutva politics, MS Golwalkar (the other being VD Savarkar) and given the task of establishing Hindutva polity in India after eradicating secularism.

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

Youth as game changers in Lok Sabha polls? Young voter registration 'is so very low'

By Dr Mansee Bal Bhargava*  Young voters will be the game changers in 2024. Do they realise this? Does it matter to them? If it does, what they should/must vote for? India’s population of nearly 1.3 billion has about one-fifth 19.1% as youth. With 66% of its population (808 million) below the age of 35, India has the world's largest youth population. Among them, less than 40% of those who turned 18 or 19 have registered themselves for 2024 election. According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), just above 1.8 crore new voters (18-and 19-year-olds) are on the electoral rolls/registration out of the total projected 4.9 crore new voters in this age group.