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Anti-Corruption Watchdog Transparency International Documents Bribe Offers in Africa

The global anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International Tuesday released its worldwide report on bribery of government officials. respondents in African countries say French, Italian and Indian companies are the most likely to offer bribes in Africa.

The group's third such index is an attempt to get at the supply side of corruption, that is, who it is that pays bribes to company officials, government departments, and others in Africa and around the world.

More than 11,000 business people in 125 countries were asked to share their perceptions of how companies headquartered in 30 of the world's leading exporting countries conduct their businesses overseas.

Overall, Indian companies are ranked as the most likely to offer bribes in their foreign operations, followed by China, Russia, Turkey, and Taiwan.

In African countries, companies from France and Italy were seen as the worst perpetrators of bribery.

Transparency International's regional director for Africa and the Middle East Casey Kelso explains to VOA the importance of the Bribe Payers Index in giving the whole picture of corruption.

"It gets the perceptions of local businessmen here, who is offering the bribes? And in this way, we try to correct that imbalance by saying, 'Yes, we are addressing the supply side. Who is supplying the bribes? Well, it looks like it is France, it is Italy, it is India, it is Russia, it is China.' So we try to identify who is actually paying the bribes and undercutting efforts for governments and local businessmen to be clean and uncorrupt," he explained.

Kelso told reporters at the Nairobi launch that companies almost never bribe or follow other corrupt practices in the industrialized countries in which they are headquartered, but fail to live up to anti-corruption standards and practices abroad.