x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Middle East bosses say corruption is widespread

Two thirds of business executives in the Middle East believe corruption is widespread with back handers and bribes often used to win contracts and deals, according to a survey.

Two thirds of business executives in the Middle East believe corruption is widespread with back handers and bribes often used to win contracts and deals, according to a survey commissioned by Ernst & Young, the international auditors.

The research also found that one fifth of respondents felt it was not possible to conduct business in the region without engaging in bribery or other forms of corruption.

"Too often, organisations in the region confront fraud only after the event and lack adequately robust controls to prevent is occurring," said Michael Adlem, partner for fraud investigation and dispute services at E&Y in the report. "As a result, losses are often significant and reputation damage immense.

"Middle East organisations can no longer wait for corruption to occur before taking action," he added.

The survey was conducted in conjunction with Perpetuity Group, a crime and security researcher in the UK. It quizzed 66 finance directors and senior fraud and risk managers in 64 major organisations in Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE.

"I have been offered money or items from suppliers," said one respondent. "Team members have been approached as well. Occasionally, problems are created that become miraculously solved. This is common with government and private organistations."

In a separate global survey on bribery and corruption, E&Y found 39 per cent of respondents around the world thought corruption was widespread in their market. The figure was 22 per cent in Western Europe and and 14 per cent in North America. That survey involved almost 1,700 respondents.

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