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Firms: We need UN anti-corruption law
Photo: DPA

Firms: We need UN anti-corruption law

Published: 09 Aug 2012 10:06 GMT+02:00
Updated: 09 Aug 2012 10:06 GMT+02:00

More than 30 German CEOs are demanding that parliament finally ratify the UN's Convention Against Corruption. The move has been blocked by MPs concerned about their own liability.

Some of Germany's best-known company bosses have signed the letter, including Siemens, Daimler, Allianz, Deutsche Bank, Lufthansa and ThyssenKrupp. They say parliament's failure to pass the agreement into law - even though Germany signed it at its inception - "harms the reputation of German companies in their activities abroad."

The UN Convention Against Corruption has been ratified by around 160 states since it was drawn up in 2003. Among the G20 member states, only Germany, Saudi Arabia and Japan have not ratified it, the business chiefs pointed out.

Their letter, dated end of June, was only published on Wednesday.

The convention requires its signatories to prosecute both corrupt and corruptible public officials, which would require a change in German law. Until now, only buying and selling MP's votes is illegal, but the UN convention also requires offering or accepting unjustified offers to be punished.

There have been several attempts to pass the proposals into law since 2003. In this legislative period, which began in 2009, all the bills have come from the opposition parties - the Social Democratic Party, the Green Party, and the Left party - and been blocked by the conservative Christian Democrats and the Free Democratic Party.

The government coalition is concerned that the convention makes no distinction between state employees and elected officials, the Financial Times Deutschland newspaper reported on Wednesday.

They say that unlike civil servants, MPs are not bound to any specific duties - parliamentarians are free and must be able to make free decisions.

"The actions of MPs should be bound by Bundestag rules and not criminal law," argued Siegfried Kauder, CDU chairman of the parliamentary committee that examined the proposals.

The coalition fears that state prosecutors would begin investigating MPs’ meetings with lobby groups and the invitations they accept to meet industry associations and individual companies.

The German companies say the failure to ratify the treatment has a real effect on their businesses activities abroad, and makes them look hypocritical.

"It always appears inconsistent if German companies require that their foreign business partners to conform to anti-corruption rules, but Germany as a state does not want to ratify the UN's anti-corruption convention," said Stefan Wernicke head legal advisor to the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK).

The Local/AFP/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:05 August 9, 2012 by twisted
"They say that unlike civil servants, MPs are not bound to any specific duties - parliamentarians are free and must be able to make free decisions."

In other words, I don't want to be prosecuted if I should break the law....I'm an MP and above what affects the common man and woman....another "you people" type of comment.
18:18 August 9, 2012 by lenny van
The refusal to pass this U.N. agreement, because of the opposition of the MPs from the capitalist parties in the Germany, comes as no surprise. What is more subtle is the actions of company bosses, who signed the letter urging the Bundestag to pass it.

The bosses regret that the reputation of their companies is tarnished. That is obvious, but what motivates the bosses of these companies to do this? For certain, it has nothing to do with honor or morality in the country that is seen in the world as having the highest percentage of money-worshiping, spiritual zombies.

In the Uncle Remus stories, Brer Rabbit begs farmer McGregor, "Please don't throw me into the Briar patch.", when what he wants is just the opposite.

It's no secret that many of these companies have often got caught stealing from the vegetable patch. They understand that the more their reputations are tarnished, the more closely they will be scrutinised and make it more difficult for them to get the goodies for themselves. They know that their partners, the MPs, have no interest in getting off the same gravey train that they are riding together.

In the fifties and sixties there was a well known symbiotic relationship in America called the military-industrial complex. Today, this kind of mutually beneficial relationship exists in Germany between the conservative parties, the judicial system and the former 19th century cartels, which are now the giants of capitalism in modern Germany.

The bosses of industry and finance in Germany know the MPs will do nothing.
08:31 August 13, 2012 by wood artist
In the US we're currently "enjoying" the obvious benefits of the freedom to buy politicians. We're not doing a very good job of stopping it, and I would strongly support Germany if they decide to prevent it. Candidly, it just isn't working here, or, alternatively, it's working too well. We've actually been discussing having the members of Congress wear clothing like German football players, showing the names of the people who bought them through sponsorship, although in our case it may need to be more like the jumpsuits worn by NASCAR drivers, since many of them have sold themselves many times over.

It wouldn't make government any better, but at least you could see which companies you're fighting against.

wa
19:42 August 13, 2012 by neunElf
Hey wood artist, would that include Public Employee Unions as well?
06:39 November 5, 2012 by JoaoPT
How can one be anti-UN, if there is no UN, if there are no rights, if there are no war, if there is no country, it is all a facade to get money and with that money control all people around the world. If people get registered in they born place, but they get nothing for that, like receiving money every week because they borned there, but no, they are educated to work, and if they earn any money they have to pay others to live in the place where they born, because there are no country, unless you are a disabled person, then the others that can work have to pay for you to live at their expenses, but all is a facade because in order to disabled people receive your money, many others work to that happen, and that process costs more than the disabled people gets; and the UN is all that and more, in order to prevent the world of produce, they implement rules that are so expensive that those that have tried it, spend more money that the one that is earned, which makes everyone that works under the UN rules to have more debts than credits; and those that do not produce under UN rules are considered criminals, and get sent to jail or killed. But bottom line it is all about money, even UN rules are used and abused just to get money, the rest is scenarios to kill and destroy any chance of people to be independent, and force them to pay taxes for nothing, cause they pay taxes and then they have to pay for food and everything else, and even then they get expired food and goods, marked has valid...
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