Transparency International in its 2018 edition of Exporting Corruption report, indicates that, companies and businesspeople from China, a non OECD country, have been reported by foreign governments in connection with alleged bribery of foreign officials across the world.
The report says there are no known foreign bribery cases or investigations brought by the Chinese government during the period 2014-2017 but media research shows that Chinese entities and individuals have been cited by foreign governments in connection with alleged bribery of foreign officials.
In certain cases, the report says, as the alleged misconduct may not have been adjudicated by courts or regulatory bodies in the relevant jurisdictions, it is unclear as to whether the allegations are substantiated.
The 2018 Exporting Corruption report lists a number of alleged cases Chinese companies and businesspeople have been involved in from 2014 to 2017.
China Harbour Engineering Company, a Chinese company currently working on the Tema Port Expansion Project in Ghana, is listed to have been recently blacklisted in Bangladesh for allegedly offering to bribe the top bureaucrat in Bangladesh’s Roads and Transport ministry to obtain construction work.
China International Water and Electric (CWE), a contractor for a hydroelectric plant in Ecuador, is under investigation by the Ecuador Attorney General for alleged bribery and the World Bank also sanctioned this company with debarment in 2014 for misconduct in Africa and Southeast Asia.
In 2017, a Chinese construction company was allegedly involved in embezzlement of 1.1billion birr ($47.2million) in Ethiopia and its senior official detained along with over 30 senior Ethiopian government officials, businesspeople and brokers.
In Kenya, Senior Managers of China Roads and Bridge Construction Company were accused of allegedly bribing officials of the highways authority in 2015.
The Council of Ethics for the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global, in 2015 recommended the exclusion of the Chinese company ZTE from the Government Pension Fund Global due to corruption allegations involving the company in several countries. The company also had a Zambian $210 million closed circuit television (CCTV) contract canceled due to bribery and corruption allegations in 2014.
China Communications Construction Company and China Harbour Engineering Company were alleged to have bribed the President of Sri Lanka and in 2015, Zambia’s former Minister of Mines was convicted of corruption for his role in the award of prospecting licences to Chinese mining company Zhonghui International Mining Group.
The United States of America reports on more than four foreign bribery investigations or cases involving Chinese companies and businesspeople in 2016 and 2017.
The Chinese government has made significant efforts to curb domestic bribery and corruption in recent years, and China has developed the anti-foreign bribery legal framework.
However the report says China has faced increasing criticism for failure to enforce its anti-foreign bribery laws, as there is no evidence of cases or investigations brought by the Chinese government against Chinese nationals or companies for bribery of foreign officials.
China should ensure that the similarities of bribery of foreign and national public officials are taken into account in order to maintain necessary consistency in the criminalisation of
these two types of acts, the report says.
With over more than 3,000 Chinese enterprises investing in Africa, with more than $100 billion gross assets and growing China-Africa investment relations, Ghana and other African countries need to properly scrutinize contracts Chinese companies are involved to ensure fairness and transparency.
China, according to the 2018 Exporting Corruption report, is one of the 22 countries with 39.6 per cent of the world’s exports but has little or no enforcement against companies bribing abroad.
By Bismark Elorm Addo
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