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UN's Ballast Water Convention provides fresh scope for bribery: lobby

THE UN's International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water, which comes into force next September, provides new scope for waterfront bribery, says a Maryland-based anti-corruption lobby. 

UN's Ballast Water Convention provides fresh scope for bribery: lobby

THE UN's International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water, which comes into force next September, provides new scope for waterfront bribery, says a Maryland-based anti-corruption lobby. 

UN's Ballast Water Convention provides fresh scope for bribery: lobby
22 November 2016 - 06:58

UN's Ballast Water Convention provides fresh scope for bribery: lobby
THE UN's International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water, which comes into force next September, provides new scope for waterfront bribery, says a Maryland-based anti-corruption lobby. 
"The convention will likely lead to vessel delays, or at least a threat of delays, which will in turn create new opportunities for illegal payments being offered or demanded," said Katya Lysova, Trace International's associate for member services and advocacy.
Trace International, a Maryland-based, non-profit business association that provides members with anti-bribery compliance support, according to its website.
Trace International says the Ukraine, Russia, China, Argentina, Brazil, India and Nigeria are among the high-risk jurisdictions when it comes to bribery.
Ms Lysova said the freight sector should do more against corruption and develop strategies to reduce bribery, especially in dealings with customs officers at ports and border crossings.
In a interview with Lloyd's Loading List, she highlighted initiatives by various national regulatory authorities that have exposed the risk of freight firms being caught up in bribery and corrupt practices.
This has led to reputational damage as well as potential multi-million dollar fines. Only this month DB Schenker was fined EUR2 million (US$2.1 million) for "compliance violations" in its business in Russia, with the "unclear payments in connection with logistics services in Russia" thought to be bribes paid to officials at St Petersburg. 
Ms Lysova said estimates show that the cost of corruption equals more than five per cent of global GDP or $2.6 trillion with more than $1 trillion paid in bribes each year. 
"Such demands could come from customs, immigration, state agencies for ports and environmental service officials," Ms Lysova said. "In road haulage, the main source of bribes will likely be police and customs officials at ports and border crossings."
"In China, there is rarely a threat of violence, but rather of delays as a result of opaque processes or government officials' refusal to act without receiving a bribe.
"Both Argentina and Nigeria have historically had notorious reputations for port and customs related corruption. However, the authorities in both these countries are working with external stakeholders to address these sources of corruption."
Ms Lysova said that the WTO's Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) is designed to reduce uncertainty around customs requirements, including fees and payment options that have to be published or made available online," she said.
"It also contains clear procedures regarding handling complicated situations, such as cargo hold-ups and releases. All these would make business interactions more transparent and predictable, thereby reducing the potential for bribery.
"Both national governments and international organisations are engaged in the implementation of the TFA procedures to ensure the efficient and effective transit of goods and vessels through ports."

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