Q24N (EL UNIVERSAL) – The Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO) mentions that corruption is a phenomenon that does not respect borders. Since 1999, Mexico has acquired international commitments focused on investigating and sanctioning international bribery. However, it has not imposed a single penalty for this crime.
The IMCO stressed that Mexico is one of the countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that is the worst qualified in the fight against international bribery.
International bribery occurs when a person or company bribes a public official from another country to obtain an illicit advantage when conducting business abroad. This type of bribery can occur in:
- Obtaining public contracts through international tenders.
- The delivery of operating permits for a company.
- The import and export of products that require going through customs.
The number of investigations initiated by Mexico is considerably low when compared to other countries and trading partners. Despite the fact that the prosecution of international bribery is also part of trade agreements such as the Treaty between Mexico, the United States and Canada (T-MEC), the efforts made by our country to investigate and apply sanctions are not on par with its Business partners.
In order to strengthen the capacities of the authorities responsible for the detection, investigation and punishment of international bribery, the IMCO proposes:
- Recognize the eradication of international bribery as a priority of the Government of Mexico. Currently, there is not a single mention of international bribery in the National Anti-Corruption Policy. The detection and punishment of this conduct requires coordination and cooperation between different agencies, which will only be possible if the eradication of this conduct is prioritized.
- Make transparent and update the information on open investigations and sanctions applied. The data regarding actions to eradicate international bribery are insufficient and out of date. It is necessary to create accessible platforms that publish timely information that includes, at least, data regarding the investigations initiated, investigations in progress, sanctions applied, and reasons for which it was determined not to apply a sanction.
- Encourage self-reporting by companies through the granting of benefits that encourage cooperation with the authorities. Mexico should implement policies similar to those of other countries where penalties for companies that report their own actions and cooperate in the course of investigations are considerably reduced. In this way it will be possible to increase the number of cases detected, correct the damage done and prevent future improper acts.
- Enable reporting of cases of international bribery on the website of the Ministry of Public Administration (SFP). For just over a year, the SFP has had a portal for whistleblowers against corruption. However, the platform does not admit complaints about acts of international bribery. Taking into account that the main reporting channel for this crime is self-reporting, it is essential to enable this option for individuals and legal entities.