German big businesses push government to sign anti-corruption convention

Berlin, 8 August 2012.

This post was originally published on the Transparency International website.

Today Germany’s biggest businesses criticised their government for failing to ratify the global treaty against corruption agreed by the United Nations almost ten years ago.

One hundred sixty-one countries have committed to put the measures in the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in place since then. Besides Germany, only one other EU country (the Czech Republic) and two other G20 countries (Saudi Arabia and Japan) have failed to ratify this treaty.

In a statement released today, Transparency International Germany’s deputy chair Peter von Blomberg said:

“German parliamentarians are not only harming Germany’s reputation, the reputation of the parliament, but also the German export industry. Germany’s failure to ratify this convention makes life harder for German companies abroad.”

Transparency International Germany head Christian Humborg explained the main stumbling blocks in a blog post for us last year:

Why are German parliamentarians hesitant? They fear investigations without prosecutions. Germany has a rather lax immunity law and a simple investigation can ruin political careers. “Why risk this?”, think many parliamentarians.

The situation in Germany is bizarre. The government wants others, such as Afghanistan, to “fight corruption”, yet it does not clean up its own house.

Most absurd is the fact that bribing foreign parliamentarians is more harshly regulated than bribing national parliamentarians in Germany.

This February, Transparency International Germany issued a report on the country’s institutions and their resistance to corruption. There is a lot still to do across the board from law enforcers’ resources to law makers’ behaviour: the report highlighted 84 areas where action was needed.

Press Contacts

Dr. Christian Humborg
Managing Director, Transparency International Deutschland
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+49 30 549 898 0

Chris Sanders
Manager, Media and Public Relations, Transparency International Secretariat
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+49 30 3438 20 666