‘Indian firms rank fourth in bribery’

‘Indian firms rank fourth in bribery’

New Delhi: Indian firms are ranked as the fourth-worst bribe payers across the world, with companies based in emerging economies routinely engaging in bribery while doing business abroad, says a report.

According to civil society organization Transparency International’s 2008 Bribe Payers Index (BPI), emerging economic giants show high levels of corporate bribery overseas.

The latest index ranks 22 leading international and regional exporting countries, out of which five of the worst bribe payers across the world are from emerging economies such as Russia, which has an average score of 5.9, China has 6.5, Mexico (6.6), India (6.8) and Brazil (7.4).

The higher the score for a country, the lower the chances that companies from this country would engage in bribery while doing business abroad, and vice-versa.

Meanwhile, Belgium and Canada shared first place in the 2008 index with a score of 8.8 out of a thoroughly clean 10, indicating that Belgian and Canadian firms are seen as least likely to bribe abroad. The Netherlands and Switzerland shared third place on the index, each with a score of 8.7.

“The BPI provides evidence that a number of companies from major exporting countries still use bribery to win business abroad, despite awareness of its damaging impact on corporate reputations and ordinary communities," Transparency International chair Huguette Labelle said.

The index also shows public works and construction firms to be the most corruption-prone when dealing with the public sector and most likely to exert undue influence on the policies, decisions and practices of governments.