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Picking up the tab is not corruption

AGENDACOMMENT

STAMPING out corruption in construction is a goal everyone agrees with. But there is a danger that the current drive to clean up the industry could go too far.

Construction has always been a social business and the 'people' aspect of the industry is one of the reasons it is a popular career choice.

Forming relationships with other contractors and clients is a cornerstone of how the industry operates.

And part of that process is corporate entertainment. Talking business over a decent lunch, in between holes on the golf course or at half time during a football match is part-andparcel of everyday life to most contractors.

But as our special report into corruption shows, the buying of sports tickets and picking up the restaurant tab is now becoming a grey area that is at tracting the attention of the authorities.

Of course bribery and collusion has no place in modern industry and this paper applauds the cartel-busters and fraud squads who uncover financial misdeeds.

But it will be a sad day when contractors are scared to entertain their clients through fear of being accused of underhand dealings.

There is a world of difference between a brown envelope stuffed full of bank notes and an invitation to play 18 holes or free tickets for a Premiership match.

Business relationships are the lifeblood of construction and the building game would be a far duller place if the social side of the industry were stamped out by an over-zealous purge on corruption.