Transparency International recently reviewed data about the 40 countries that signed the Organization for Economic Cooperation’s 1997 Anti-Bribery Convention agreement, and the results are disheartening.
According to the annual review, only eight of the 40 countries are considered “steady enforcers” of bribery laws. Of these, four (10 percent) were considered “moderate enforcers” and four “active enforcers.” The number in the active category dropped from the seven countries in the category in 2012.
This means that 32 of the countries in the agreement fall into the two lowest categories: “limited enforcement” and “little or no enforcement.” In order to be classified in the active or moderate categories, countries much have launched or finished at least one major case in the last four years.
The countries that are considered active are the U.S., the U.K., Germany and Switzerland, while the moderate enforcers are Austria, Australia, Finland and Italy. Italy was demoted in this year’s study because recent enforcement information was unavailable.
Dropping this year were Norway and Denmark, which fell from the active category to the limited category. Falling from moderate to limited were Argentina, Canada, France and Sweden. Five of the 20 countries in the “little or no enforcement” category dropped from the “moderate enforcement” rank: Belgium, Japan, the Netherlands, South Korea and Spain.
Some countries did improve, however. Bulgaria, Hungary and Portugal moved up from the “little enforcement” category and South Africa moved up from “no enforcement.”
“The 40 countries, which represent more than two-thirds of global exports, would make it very hard to get away with bribery if they lived up to the requirements of the OECD anti-bribery convention,” said Huguette Labelle, chair of Transparency International, in a statement.