Friday, 2 October 2009

BAe Bribery Claims

It seems that the SFO are going to keep their teeth well and truly sunk into BAe Systems. Just when it had all calmed down after the much publicised Al Yamamah arms deal with Saudi Arabia, now BAe are accused of bribery to secure deals in South Africa, Tanzania, Czech Republic and Romania.

When is someone going to wake up to the fact that if you deal with the authorities in such countries, somewhere along the line, the wheels will need to be oiled. Just because we have a cleancut approach (supposedly) to such contracts, why do we expect other countries, particular in Africa, Middle East and Eastern Europe, to do the same? On the contrary, to merely do business in some of these countries requires a middle man, who will not only want his share, but will also need to offer financial encouragement to the decision maker (or the person who has the necessary influence on the decision process) to come a favourable agreement with the company who is bidding for the business. We are naive if we really believe that contracts can be won in these places by simply offering the most competive deal. In fact having dealt in 2 of the aforementioned countries I can totally support BAe's position.

Now the question I suppose is, that being the case, should BAe simply not bother? Well I hate to say it but if they don't the contracts will be awarded to those organisations who make the necessary effort to secure the deals. So, the end result would inevitably be that BAe (and hence the UK) loose out on multi million pound contracts, which in turn results in laying off staff, and so it goes on...and the questions then get asked, why did BAe loose out to say Lockheed Martin, or Boeing, etc etc? I think the powers that be and the SFO need a serious dose of reality....after all this is how business is done in these countries!

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