5 July 2011

Britain slipped to 20th in the last Corruption Perceptions Index published by Transparency International. That places it not only below Scandinavian countries, and places like New Zealand, Singapore, Canada and Australia, but more corrupt also than Hong Kong, Ireland,  Barbados, Japan and Qatar.   From a British perspective, several other integrity comparisons place it in a similarly poor light.

This week, new anti-bribery crimes come into force in the UK.  enforcement will be a responsibility of the Serious Fraud Office.  The need for such discouragement seems  justified by the scandal emerging about the stadium being completed for the London Olympic games.

A condition on the games being awarded to London was that the main stadium must continue being used for athletic purposes on conclusion of the Olympics.  Only football clubs had the interest and financial ability to do so; West Ham and Tottenham made bids.  West Ham was successful. Media reports now suggest improprieties in the process.

The Corporate Affairs director of the agency making the decision to award the stadium to West Ham, not only had a consultancy with West Ham for which she received a $20,000 fee, but had a personal relationship with a West Ham executive.  Both the agency director and the West Ham executive have been stood down.  A pattern of litigation relating to the post-Olympics use of the stadium will continue.  What will linger is a sense that British organisation of the Olympics may have characteristics in common with the Indian management of the Commonwealth Games.