Bribery, extortion and embezzlement run rampant in Mexico
Multilateral anti-corruption agreements has done little to stem the tide of corruption
In spite of several multilateral anti-corruption agreements that have
been signed by the Mexican government, these agreements have yielded few
concrete results in combating the rampant bribery, extortion and
embezzlement. "We have the necessary legal instruments, but they are
rarely used. More laws will not reduce the risk of corruption," Eduardo
Bojórquez, head of Transparencia Mexicana, the national chapter of the
Berlin-based watchdog Transparency International said
Wal-Mart is not the only company to have been involved in corruption scandals in Mexico. Various studies in the past few years have revealed the tangled web that is debilitating Mexico with enormous economic and social costs.
Among the most odious of the recent example of rampant corruption and greed involved the U.S. retail giant Wal-Mart. Walmart's Mexico branch has been under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission since December of last year.
Wal-Mart's Mexico has been the subject of a report published last month in The New York Times, which alleged the company paid $24 million in bribes to facilitate the construction of new stores, in a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
The company had allegedly engaged in widespread and systematic bribery in this country. But the Mexican Attorney-General's Office only opened an investigation after it was published.
Mexico has ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption and the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, as well as the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.
Mexico is also a member of the U.N. Global Compact, which is the world's largest corporate responsibility initiative. Launched in 2000, the UNGC has over 8,000 participants, most of them businesses, in more than 135 countries, and local networks in over 90 nations. The 10 universal principles it upholds relate to human rights, labor law, environmental standards and the fight against corruption.
"It is important to use these mechanisms to expose human rights violations committed by companies, and to demonstrate that regulations need to be stricter," Valeria Scorza, head of the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Project (ProDESC) says.
But "we criticize the lack of mechanisms to sanction member companies for non-compliance, or to secure reparations for damage. The principles should be reformulated to pack more punch, although this is a fairly difficult collective process and companies usually have no interest in it," she said.
ProDESC has persistently denounced violations of labor rights at Wal-Mart, which was founded in the United States in 1962 and entered the Mexican market in 1991.
Wal-Mart is not the only company to have been involved in corruption scandals. Various studies in the past few years have revealed the tangled web that is debilitating Mexico with enormous economic and social costs.
A version of this story was first published by Inter Press Service news agency.
© 2012, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
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Keywords: mexico, bribery. corruption, Wal-Mart
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