What Happens to the Public Officials on the Receiving End?
The OECD Anti-Bribery Convention is the foremost global legal instrument for fighting
the supply side of foreign bribery. The supply side of foreign bribery relates to
what bribers do – it involves offering, promising or giving a bribe to a foreign public
official to obtain an improper advantage in international business. In contrast, the
demand side of foreign bribery refers to the offence committed by public officials
who are bribed by foreign persons.
This study explores whether there is a "flip side" to enforcement actions that ended
in sanctions for the supply-side of a foreign bribery transaction. It focuses on what
happened on the receiving end of this transaction. That is to say, were the public
officials in the demand-side country also sanctioned or otherwise disciplined?
Public officials accepting bribes from OECD-based companies run little risk of being
punished. In only one fifth of the 55 concluded foreign bribery cases examined were
formal sanctions imposed on one or more public officials.
International co-operation is not a major source of detection for demand-side cases
with none of the enforcement actions in the survey being detected through direct communications
with supply-side enforcement authorities.
The media play a major role. In addition to informing the general public, they serve
as an intermediary in the international flow of information between the supply-side
and demand-side enforcement authorities.