Despite efforts to curb corruption, as well as an increasing media spotlight on related cases, acts like bribery continue to accelerate throughout the world, according to a study by the firm Transparency International (TI).

TI’s Global Corruption Barometer (GCB), released this month for the first time in over two years, found one in four people, about 27% of those polled, reported paying a bribe within the last 12 months.  More than half of those surveyed viewed the problem as worsening and another quarter saw conditions as stagnant in the 107 nations included in the study. The findings showed that the necessity for bribes is having an impact on people trying, and often failing, to start private-sector businesses throughout the world, or to efficiently operate a business not already in favor with major politicians or existing global corporations. TI also noted that an Ernst & Young survey alleged one in five has lost business to a competitor who paid bribes.

“Recent scandals prove that corruption in business doesn’t always bring profits, yet bribery persists,” TI noted in the report. “Corruption distorts markets and creates unfair competition. Companies often pay bribes or rig bids to win public procurement contracts. Many companies hide corrupt acts behind secret subsidiaries and partnerships, or they seek to influence political decision-making illicitly.”

The study named Fiji, Algeria and Norway as the three nations where corruption has the biggest impact. The latter is curious considering that neighbors like Denmark, Finland and Sweden all placed in the top five best nations in TI’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI), released late last year.  Also curious is that Russia, well known for deep corruption at many levels of business and politics, was not listed on the GCB “most affected” list for either business or politics.

Among those on the GCB “most affected” list in political corruption were the United States, Germany and Canada, which all placed in the top 20 in the 2012 CPI, as well as Brazil, Mexico, the United Kingdom and India. The latter of which, as it continues to lose luster after years as a top emerging economy, fell into the worst grouping statistically regarding the percentage of respondents who reported paying bribes in the past year (50%-74.9%). The only countries that exceeded 75% were Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Courtesy:   Brian Shappell, CBA, CICP, NACM staff writer