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Task force targets corruption

An industry-led task force has drawn up a charter to stamp out international bribery and corruption.
The Anti-Corruption Forum has developed a code of conduct for governments, industry, clients and project backers to help stop fraudulent bidding for construction, infrastructure and engineering projects.

It is backed by the Association for Consultancy and Engineering, the British Consultants and Construction Bureau, the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Institution of Structural Engineers.

The forum is calling on governments to set up an international blacklist database to name and shame companies prosecuted for corruption.

It also wants an anti-corruption management policy to be a requirement for companies tendering for work.

A number of development banks, including the World Bank, the European Bank, the Asian Development and the African Development banks, have records of companies involved in bribery.

The forum wants this information to be pooled in a central resource.

ACE chief executive Nelson Ogunshakin said: 'Companies should be named and shamed for being involved in corruption. British industry has a responsibility to ensure that in the international market we are operating on a level playing field and we need to work with governments to make that happen.'

The forum is talking to Government departments including the Foreign Office, UK Trade and Investment, the Department for International Development and the Office of Government Commerce pushing for its anti-corruption policy to be adopted.

BCCB chief executive Graham Hand said: 'We want to see an end to the cancer of corruption. Corruption damages development in the Third World and destroys business confidence as well as the quality of work.'

The forum is focusing on getting rid of corruption on projects in the developing world, claiming corruption can cause poverty and underdevelopment in poorer countries, resulting in overpriced, dangerous and unnecessary schemes going ahead.

Mr Ogunshakin said: 'Corruption can damage infrastructure projects by close to 30 per cent of project cost.'

by Sophie Kernon