25 JUL 2018
Bribery and corruption remain problems in India, in part due to an ecosystem that makes professionals vulnerable to financial crimes.
India was ranked 81st out of 180 countries in Transparency International's 2017 Global Corruption Perception Index, which ranked countries on their perceived levels of public sector corruption. India received a similar rank of 79th among 176 countries in the 2016 index. These rankings demonstrate the need to do more to counter corruption in India.
Opportunities for bribery commonly occur when there is a lot of human interface, and in India there is substantial in-person interaction required within the real estate sector. For example, before launching a real estate project in India, developers must secure up to 30 approvals. This can lead to bribery demands in exchange for approval. Contract negotiators are aware of the high stakes involved in these projects and use this to their financial advantage.
Reducing personal contact between government officials and companies can reduce opportunities for bribery by putting an end to discretionary powers. If these approvals are given online, there would be very little scope for corruption. E-governance may be one strategy to promote transparency and accountability.
Reducing personal contact between government officials and companies can reduce opportunities for bribery by putting an end to discretionary powers. If these approvals are given online, there would be very little scope for corruption.
RICS as a global ethical and professional body has always had ethics as its very foundation. And in line with its ethical approach, it recently launched a consultation for a new professional statement titled, Countering Bribery and Corruption, Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing. The professional statement, which will apply to all RICS professionals and regulated firms, sets out the obligations for how to mitigate exposure to bribery and corruption, money laundering and terrorist financing.
The professional statement is very relevant to the Indian market. Professionals in India are not unethical per se, however, the ecosystem makes these professionals vulnerable to financial crimes. The statement will help individuals identify and manage the risks associated with bribery and corruption, and money laundering and terrorist financing.
By setting out the obligations for RICS professionals and regulated firms, the proposed professional statement promotes transparent business behaviour, in turn increasing market confidence in the profession.
Countering Bribery and Corruption, Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing will apply to all RICS professional disciplines and is global in scope.
Responses are accepted until 31 August.