Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Seminar on Adoption of Anti Bribery Principles in the Private Sector.

A seminar was held at Hotel Marriott on 15th January, 2009 on ‘Adoption of Anti Bribery Principles in the Private Sector’. This seminar was organized by Transparency International Pakistan and BASF Pakistan(Pvt) Ltd. The Chief Guest of the seminar was Engr. Elahi Bakhsh Soomro, Ex speaker of the National Assembly.

Mr Syed Adil Gilani welcomed the guests at the start of the seminar. He explained the aims and objectives of Transparency International – Pakistan and gave an overview of its activities. He discussed the Bribe Payers Index and the Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International. He pointed out the corruption in the Private Sector in the International Arena and the role played by the auditing firms.

He was followed by Mr Qazi Sajid Ali, MD BASF Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd. He talked about the MOU signed by their company with TI-Pakistan. He informed after the company had decided to follow anti bribery principles in their practices, they had to undergo great difficulties in their business. However they persevered and now they find it was much easier to follow these principles. BASF requires all its employees to follow high levels of integrity both during their business and personal dealings.

The next speaker was Mr H.N. Akhtar, ex Secretary GOP. He shared his experiences with the participants. He was of the opinion that the term anti corruption should be added to the topic. He advised that auditors should not issue false certificates. He suggested that these principles should also apply to the Public sector. He also informed about the corruption in the donor agencies.

Mr Zubair Tufail, Vice President FPCCI. He said that discretionary powers of government officials. He said that corruption is affecting all aspects of life. It is evident in different forms like favoritism, misuse of power, jobs not provided on merit. He recommended the curtailment of discretionary powers of the government officials, simplification of laws and speedy decision making.
Engr M.A. Jabbar spoke on the speech of the previous president when he came to power. He said that the exact speech could be used today with only an addition of nine years as nothing seemed to have changed in their rule. He said that each successive government gives lip service to eradicating corruption but after they leave there has been no change. He recommend that an independent judicial system, independent and responsible media, transparent oversight bodies, independent anti corruption agencies, well trained law enforcement, an effective civil society were necessary for the curbing of corruption.

Mr Abbas Akberali, CEO Amreli Steel spoke at length about various modes and methods of corruption in vogue. His recommendation included indexation of wages and salary, rationalization of custom duties, curtailment of discretionary powers and accountability.

In the end Engr Elahi Bakhsh Soomro, Ex speaker National Assembly summed up the discussions. He appreciated the relevance of the topic and commended both Transparency International Pakistan and BASF Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd for taking the initiative to discuss such an important issue. While he considered it essential for the top leadership to be clean in order to serve as role models for the public at large, he however was of the view that even under the present circumstances a lot can be done by the organizers.

A sub committee was formed under the leadership of Qazi Sajid Ali of BASF with members MA Jabbar, Mr Abbas Akberali and Mr Zubair Tufail to prepare strategies and recommendations enhancing the adoption of anti bribery principles in the private sector.