Bribery and Petty Corruption: Don't Pay

Are all informal payments to officials to be classified as bribery and ultimately theft? Or can a modest sum in the right hand smooth the course of honest business? And what is at stake for the companies concerned – can their reputations survive the greed of graft?

The World Today
6 minute READ

John Bray

Your company badly needs some imported equipment which is stuck in the customs. An official explains that it will take several weeks to clear, but hints that an extra payment of $100 would solve the problem. So what do you do?

For many business people working in developing countries, the answer is obvious: you pay. ‘Facilitating’ or ‘facilitation’ payments are irksome, but they are part of life – and not the same as a bribe to secure business. If you try to resist, you find yourself bogged down in endless delays. Delays cost money. And, they say, such payments are part of the local culture. You can’t change things.

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