A new report released by Transparency International (TI) on Wednesday, listed South Africa among 44 leading exporting countries in the world.
The report, titled Exporting Corruption, however grouped the country among those whose companies usually get away with bribing authorities in foreign countries where they are exporting to, in order to gain special privileges, contracts, construction and marketing deals.
According to TI, “only 11 major exporting countries – accounting for about a third of world exports – have active or moderate law enforcement against companies bribing abroad in order to gain mining rights, contracts for major construction projects, purchases of planes and other deals.”
The report names the top offending countries as well as the flaws in national legal systems that allow the crime to fester. It cited one of the most shocking examples exposed in recent years – the massive foreign bribery scheme carried out by the Brazilian construction conglomerate Odebrecht involving about US$788 million in bribes to government officials and political parties in at least 12 countries.
Countries in Asia led by China, India, Japan, South Korea, were however ranked worse than South Africa as they have little or no enforcement against corrupt activities being perpetuated abroad by their companies.
Germany, Israel, Italy, Norway, Switzerland, United Kngdom and United States have the best ratings and are countries that others should emulate.
The table below shows the level of enforcement by the 44 countries listed:
In Nigeria, South African firms like MTN and Multichoice are having a running battle with regulatory authorities. While MTN is battling to prove its innocence in cases of illegal repatriation of funds and tax evasion, Multichoice is having Nigerians, the NCC and the courts to deal with, over illegal hike in prices for unsatisfactory DStv and GOtv services.
Multichoice operates in Nigeria with very little competition from Startimes, with citizens blaming the government for giving the South African firm the leeway to do as it pleases. Efforts by indigenous cable TV companies like TStv and HItv have failed mysteriously.
READ ALSO: Beware of fraudsters, TSTV warns Nigerians
No case of bribery has however been proven against these companies in Nigeria even though there were allegations of bribing of some top government officials in the settlement of a N330 billion fine imposed on MTN Nigeria by the NCC in 2016.
The firm was originally fined $5.2 billion in October 2016 for failing to deactivate more than five million unregistered SIM cards, but the fine was reduced in a settlement that paved the way for it to list its subsidiary on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
China is adjudged the world’s largest exporter.
In spite of an abundance of human and natural resources, the whole of Africa, with the exception of South Africa, exports little or nothing to the rest of the world. This is evident in the map illustration above.
This accentuates the realisation that the continent produces “nothing” for export. As a matter of fact, Africa is the destination of a great percentage of the exports from other continents. And as a result of corrupt leadership and institutions, the centre of the bribery cases considered by Transparency International, might just be Africa.