Round Up the Usual Suspects - Responses to Corruption in Resource Rich Countries


In Casablanca, one of my favorites movies of all-time is the great line of Claude Rains as Captain Renault, when he announces “Major Strasser has been shot, round up the usual suspects.” I was reminded of this when I recently read a paper presented at the 14th International Anti-Corruption Conference, entitled “Fuelling Transparency and Accountability in the Natural Resources and Energy Market”.

In this paper, Andrea Gillies explored the question of corruption endemic and systemic to countries with a large amount of natural resources and proposed some responses to it. Her paper focuses on the demand side of corruption rather than a supply side response such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). I found this interesting because, in the anti-corruption world, many persons believe that the energy industry is at the epicenter of FCPA enforcement. A quick review of the Top 10 FCPA settlements, of all-time, shows that five of the ten are energy companies. Is the reason simply that energy companies do work in “the usual places” where corruption is rampant? Or is that the cowboy tradition of the energy industry is what caused or contributed to the problem?

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