9 December 2011
Today is International Anti Corruption Day.
The results of numerous surveys suggest that there is an undiminished need to maintain public awareness of the causes and consequences of corruption. Awareness is a prophylatic in the same way as sunshine is a disinfectant.  That need for awareness may be as great in New Zealand as elsewhere.
The announcement this week by the Serious Fraud Office of arrests in the largest ever New Zealand fraud case, reportedly involving more than 1.7 billion suggests that opportunism is as likely to afflict enterprise in New Zealand as elsewhere. This confirms the Transparency International Global Corruption Barometer finding earlier this year,that 4% of New Zealanders said they had paid a bribe in the previous 12 months – higher than UK at 1% and Australia at 2%.
PricewaterhouseCoopers economic crime survey references to the New Zealand market echo the findings in the Auditor General’s Public Sector Fraud survey and both the Ernst and Young and the KPMG 2011 fraud barometers. The outcome is reflected in the list of convicted fraudsters published on the Verify website
The ‘good news” of course from the New Zealand perspective is that the Corruption Perceptions Index increased the rating given to the New Zealand public sector, which remains in the top slot. There appears to be a difference also in the nature of corruption in New Zealand and in many other OECD countries.
The 2011 BRIBEline report shows a fraud pattern with many consistencies across jurisdictions (USA, Brazil, Mexico, Ukraine, Russia,India and China.) More than half of bribes are made by people associated with government, more than half recur year on year, and nearly 20% of bribes are offered more than 100 times annually.  Three quarters of bribes are for cash, and nearly half are extortionate. Although in the US about half of bribes are for less than $5,000, 25% are for more than $50,000, a much greater percentagee than elsewhere.
An interesting publication recognising International Anti Corruption Day is on the Australian High Commission website.  This links to a DFAT compilation of Australian measures – largely offshore commitments – against corruption.  And following from yesterday’s blog there is no reference to any Australian interest in the Open Government Declaration or this week’s gathering in Brasilia.