International efforts to tackle bribery and corruption are losing momentum, according to Transparency International (TI), an anti-corruption group.
Every year TI monitors global compliance with the OECD's benchmark anti-bribery convention. Its latest report shows that for the first time in seven years there has been no increase in the number of countries enforcing it.
TI reviewed anti-corruption activity in 37 countries and concluded that only seven countries were taking the convention seriously. Nine had a “moderate enforcement” approach and 21 showed “little or no enforcement”, TI said.
Countries taking a lax approach to the convention include developed nations such as Australia, Canada and Ireland. Together they account for 15% of world trade, TI said.
“The collective commitment to stamp out foreign bribery made by all OECD parties is undermined when a large number of countries have inadequate enforcement,” said TI chair Huguette Labelle. “Failure to enforce the convention will allow corruption to flourish, which means that resources will be diverted from the poor and that honest companies will lose out.”
According to the OECD's own analysis, only five of the countries that have signed up to the convention sanctioned individuals or companies in the past year.
TI said the OECD should apply greater political pressure on countries to make them enforce the convention.