Found myself on Corruption Panel – a cross-party ad hoc grouping of three MPs, one Baroness and one adviser from Transparency International. We were meeting with Ian McCartney, Minister from the DTI, to pursue what the Government are doing in terms of getting their act together on this scarring issue that is damaging our international standing and our business reputation.
Whilst we were not there to talk about BAE and the current scandal – it is pretty hard to divorce one from t’other. For most of the meeting listened to what was put to the Minister and what the response was. What I hear is that the Government is working hard to tackle corruption. There is an action plan – and it is progressing in terms of implementation. However, the big missing chunk, from this ‘plan’ is the legislation. (Ironic really when you consider how Labour passed new legislation at the drop of a hat – or a tabloid headline – in so so many other areas).
And the other big black mark is Al Yamamah – with the OECD coming to check up on us after the Government dropped the investigation into the bribes to Saudi shenanigans.
The OECD is very angry with us. I have no doubt that the US will launch an investigation into the BAE stuff – especially as BAE are big players in the US military market. The US – like France – has a much better track record than we do on corruption – they actually go ahead and prosecute people.