Procurement Riddles (Part 1)

One field where the “fight” against corruption has been perhaps the least effective is procurement, rather referred generally as contracting. It is difficult to put it more bluntly. The technical director (now on leave) of the company in charge of building the Berlin Airport (BER) is currently being investigated for alleged bribery. In his former role as consultant to this same company, and apparently with powers to award contracts, he may have requested a bribe in the amount of 500 thousand Euros to award a contract[i]. In Colombia, 9 thousand km away and more frequently badmouthed than Germany, a few years ago two brothers and their cousin organized a simple and effective scheme of bribes, revolving doors and conflicts of interest to successfully secure visible infrastructure contracts[ii]. The good thing in both cases? Prosecutors are looking into the matter. The annoying commonalities? This is corruption 1.0: we are not talking about sophisticated, complex, high-tech schemes that would escape expert scrutiny. Read More

Corruption causes social damage: can it be repaired?

We know corruption is bad, we argue about its consequences but we have been obsessed with its causes and the perpetrators.  The main point of academic, activist and reformist attention view has been: whether it is the supply or the demand side of corruption; whether the offender is at home or abroad (or both); whether the method used was a bribe or a kickback; whether we are dealing with petty or grand corruption and how much is it and where does it happen; if and how we can ensure that not only individuals but also that legal entities be responsible for acts of corruption, and so on.  Partly this focus on causes, parallels our focus on the perpetrators, which has been the focus of  what is called the “anti-corruption movement” which includes civil society organizations, international institutions, donors, academics and professionals of different kinds among others. In fact this is the main focus of international legal instruments (United nations Convention Against Corruption and the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention) with some minor exceptions. And where are the victims? Fighting corruption is not an objective per se, and if corruption can’t be prevented or avoided, its consequences at least need to be repaired. Read More

La Transparencia Corporativa Paga*

Si usted es el Presidente Ejecutivo de una compañía y le ofrecen una estrategia para reducir riesgos de reputación, ampliar mercado, mitigar riesgos operacionales e incrementar la confianza de sus inversionistas, clientes y  grupos estratégicos (actuales o posibles), ¿La tomaría? Si su respuesta es si, y además le concierne que la estrategia sea enteramente legal y de bajo costo, entonces lo que estoy por describirle le interesa.

Se trata de una estrategia empresarial simple: se llama transparencia. Se basa en el principio de responder por lo que uno realmente es, hace y piensa, y consiste en poner a disponibilidad de a quien le interese (inversionistas, clientes, contratistas o el público en general) información relevante sobre las características, planes  y operaciones de la empresa. Klick here for the full text