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bribing the enemy « Previous | |Next »
January 22, 2006

Even the OECD is pressuring Australia to increase fines and toughen sanctions against companies that resort to bribery. The Australian Wheat Board (AWB) cannot be seen as a pacesetter in best-practice management of corruption.

The corruption finger is currently pointed at the AWB because it was engaged in bribing an enemy of the nation state. As Carol Overington reports in The Australian

If the AWB had $100,000 worth of wheat to sell, it would have to inflate the price, to $120,000 or $130,000. AWB would submit the contract to the UN and get paid from the escrow account. It would keep the $100,000 for the wheat, and "kick back" the extra money to Iraq [for "trucking fees" etc.]

From 1999 until the Iraq war in 2003, AWB sold more than $US1.5 billion worth of wheat to Iraq. The "trucking fees" and the "after sales service fees" etc kept growing, until AWB found itself having to inflate the price of its contracts not by 10 per cent but by up to 30 per cent. It was doing this as Australia was preparing to go to war with Iraq and even after Australian troops had invading Iraq.

No Minister or any federal department knows anything about any of this--says the Howard Government. Our hands clean is the message being run.

Matt Golding

The activities of spin doctors and "culture of cover-up" are now engaged in seeking to obscure the real situation and to tranquillise public opinion. This has been standard practice with respect to Iraq hasn't it.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:56 AM | | Comments (0)