Transparency International calls on defence industry to ensure highest standards

The UK’s Ministry of Defence and leading manufacturers of military equipment are supporting an initiative with non-government organisation Transparency International (TI) to combat bribery and corruption in the international arms trade. The UK Defence Export Services Organisation and TI hosted the first meeting in London in early July, drawing representatives from 14 British defence companies and the national Defence Industries Council and Defence Manufacturers Association.

Transparency International UK chairman Laurence Cockroft says developing countries account for 60% of cross-border arms purchases, and that “often-associated corruption can play a major part in destabilisation. The European defence industry can and should do more to ensure that corruption forms no part of these purchases.”

The 7 July meeting on “Strengthening international defence contracting against corruption” represents “a useful start”, he says.

Companies involved in the meeting were AgustaWestland, BAE Systems, Flight Refuelling, General Dynamics UK, Lockheed Martin, Martin-Baker Aircraft, Park Air Systems, Rolls-Royce, Smiths Aerospace, Smiths Detection, Thales Air Defence, Thales UK, Ultra Electronics and the VT Group.

The UK’s largest defence contractor “is committed to conducting its business to the highest ethical standards”, says BAE group marketing director Mike Rouse.

TI project leader Mark Pyman says the organisation is promoting “defence integrity pacts” between bidding companies and governments for future arms deals to outline “specific pledges on anti-corruption and enhanced disclosure through an independent monitor”. Minister for defence procurement Lord Drayson says: “The [UK] government is determined to play its full part in preventing corruption in international business transactions”.


Source: Flight International