MOSCOW, October 24 (RIA Novosti) - Only four of the 41 countries which pledged to comply with fair trade regulations 15 years ago are probing and holding companies accountable for deceiving taxpayers by offering bribes to get or inflate contracts, a statement published on Transparency International's website said.
"Fifteen years after the entry into force of the convention, only four of 41 countries signed up are actively investigating and prosecuting companies that cheat taxpayers when they bribe foreign officials to get or inflate contracts, or obtain licences and concessions. Five countries were classified as having moderate enforcement, while another eight had limited enforcement," the statement published Thursday said.
The four countries that have registered the most successful record in observing the 1999 convention are Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Lack of government support in the investigation processes, the organization notes, contributes to the problem.
"Twenty-two of the countries party to the OECD [Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development] Convention are doing little or nothing by way of enforcement. The 22 countries represent 27 percent of world exports. Transparency International said enforcement is low because investigators lack political backing to go after big companies, especially where the considerations of national economic interest trump anti-corruption commitments. Investigators also often lack the resources to investigate complex white-collar crime," the statement added.
It also noted that the countries of the G20 do not pursue their goals enshrined by their anti-corruption action plan.
In the statement, Transparency International Chair José Ugaz stated that an active compliance by a majority of leading exporters of the principles signed 15 years ago is indispensable for introducing a change in the manner that companies work.
Through the statement, the organization called on governments to fight against secret company ownership that covers up corruption cases as well as patrol borders to identify "the increasingly cross-border nature of crime".