The President of the United States, Donald Trump in 2017 had asked his officials to act to repeal a law that prohibited companies operating in America from paying bribes to foreign officials to obtain contracts or to retain them. The Foreign Corrupt Practice Act (FCPA), enacted in 1977 prohibits companies operating in the US from paying bribes abroad to secure business. The US FCPA is similar to the UK Bribery Act enacted in 2010. The UK law was used in the Mabey & Johnson case in which the UK bridge construction firm was found guilty of bribing Ghanaian officials to obtain contracts. The same law has been applied in the recent Airbus bribery scandal making the news.
According to a new book, “A Very Stable Genius,” by Philip Rucker and Carol D. Leonnig, Trump said that it was “just so unfair that American companies aren’t allowed to pay bribes to get business overseas.”
Trump told his then Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson to get rid of the law to allow American companies abroad to pay bribes so they can be competitive, but Tillerson told him it couldn’t be done without Congress, the book said.
While the UK has enforced the law many more times than the US, it appears very unlikely that the US would be interested in enforcing the law under Trump, should any US based companies flout it.
Court documents issued January 30, 2020 from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia: United States v. Airbus SE as Defendant, Case no: 1:20-cr-00021(TFH) titled Deferred Prosecution Agreement, contain extensive details of acts of bribery by officials of aircraft manufacturer Airbus. The records show Airbus officials admitting to bribing government officials to obtain contracts in countries around the world including Ghana.
The bribery case has been ruled on by both US and UK authorities.
The company has agreed to pay a fine of $4 billion allowing it to avoid criminal prosecution.
The approximate unit cost of one C295, a tactical military aircraft manufactured by Airbus is $28 million.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi//www.ghanabusinessnews.co
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