15 April 2004 | Liam O'Brien
New rules unveiled by the Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD) to stamp out corruption don't go far enough, according to anti-bribery organisations.
The procedures allow the ECGD - the government-backed provider of export insurance - greater access to company documentation to ensure bribery is not used to win overseas contracts, and to order exporters and their affiliates to sign-up to anti-corruption declarations.
But critics say no prosecutions have been brought since the government outlawed corruption to win overseas' contracts in the Anti-terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001, and the ECGD rules were not helping.
Graham Rodmell, director of corporate regulatory affairs at Transparency International, said: "We would have liked the ECGD to go further. At the moment there has to be a criminal conviction to debar a company from obtaining export insurance. And to our knowledge there have been none."
TI(UK) is pushing for a single government agency with responsibility for cracking down on foreign bribery. Pressure group the Corner House says the ECGD is not doing enough and points to its support of MW Kellogg, which is being investigated by US authorities for allegedly paying $180 million in bribes to secure a construction contract in Nigeria.
CIPS, which is due to publish a guide to corporate social responsibility soon, said the ECGD's moves helped to focus attention on corruption.
Darren Ford, purchasing and supply management development manager at CIPS, said: "Anything that brings this issue to the table has to be a good thing."