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Corruption could cost Africa dearly

Aug 27 2015 21:15
Leopold Scholtz

The Hague - A large Dutch staffing agency, Brunel, has pulled out of Nigeria because of corruption. Brunel has a presence in more than 40 countries, with a turnover of €100m (R1.47bn) in Nigeria alone.

Experts believe this could be the beginning of a larger trend, with companies deciding that it is simply not worth the trouble to continue investing in corrupt countries where doing business costs too much relative to profits.

Brunel CEO Jan Arie van Barneveld told the Dutch daily Financieele Dagblad: “Safety risks and bureaucracy have made it almost impossible to guarantee our quality of service and safety of our personnel in Nigeria.”

The company will not withdraw immediately and will carry out its obligations in accordance with existing contracts, but will not accept any new business.

“We do business there with big concerns in oil and gas, run by local bigwigs. They simply tell our employees that the bill of a million will not be paid unless certain persons are ‘facilitated’. To be clear: that is jargon for bribery. They always think of a reason not to pay. You simply don’t get your money.”

Barneveld said he personally refused to "facilitate" someone who would not pay a bill.

Brunel is also reviewing its future in Angola for the same reason.

Aldo Verbruggen, a former public prosecutor and currently a solicitor in Amsterdam, said corruption forms part of companies’ risk analysis. In the West, laws against corruption as well as punishment and policing have become considerably more rigorous.

The ever-increasing risks and costs of doing business with corrupt countries make it simply not worthwhile, especially if employees’ safety cannot be guaranteed.

According to analysts, corruption causes about 5% of worldwide gross national product to vanish into the pockets of the dishonest.

holland  |  nigeria  |  business  |  corruption  |  bribes  |  africa economy
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