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BUSINESS AS USUAL

One in three senior managers would offer a bribe to win or retain new business

Reuters/Thomas Mukoya
The market doesn’t always decide.
By Lily Kuo
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

More than half of business professionals around the world say corruption is widespread in their industries and even more are willing to justify it, according to a new survey on fraud conducted across Europe, the Middle East, India, and Africa.

The survey by the professional services firm EY found that 51% of more than 4,000 respondents across 41 countries said bribery and corrupt practices were common in their country. And 77% of board directors and senior managers surveyed were willing to justify such behavior to help their businesses survive. One in three were willing to offer cash payments to win or retain business.

In Africa, that figure was higher, with 77% of those polled reporting corruption in their sectors. Kenya ranked the highest in Africa, ahead of South Africa and Nigeria, and sixth globally.

Kenya regularly tops lists of the world’s most corrupt countries. Money destined for infrastructure, public services, and even its Olympic team have all gone missing. The country’s auditor general said in 2015 that only a quarter of the government’s 450 billion shilling ($4.35 billion) budget could be accounted for. In the private sector, cases of fraud, bribery, and nepotism are common.

Kenya’s next generation of business leaders may be even more accepting of corruption. Almost two thirds of respondents between the ages of 25 and 34 believed unethical behavior for the sake of one’s business interests was acceptable. Only 49% of those between the ages of 45 and 54 agreed.

“With 73% of respondents from Generation Y holding the view that unethical action can be justified to help a business survive, it is imperative to pay attention to this younger generation, since they are the future of businesses,” says Dennis Muchiri, leader of fraud investigation and dispute services at EY in East Africa.

Here’s the breakdown of what percentage of respondents said corruption is widespread, by country:

Ukraine
88
Cyprus
82
Greece
81
Slovakia
81
Croatia
79
Kenya
79
South Africa
79
Hungary
78
India
78
Egypt
75
Slovenia
74
Nigeria
73
Italy
71
Bulgaria
68
Turkey
67
Russia
66
Spain
64
Czech Republic
63
Portugal
60
Serbia
57
Jordan
53
Latvia
51
Ireland
47
Lithuania
47
Germany
43
Saudi Arabia
43
Poland
38
Belgium
36
Austria
32
Estonia
32
Romania
31
France
28
UAE
27
UK
25
Netherlands
23
Oman
19
Sweden
18
Switzerland
18
Finland
16
Norway
10
Denmark
6

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