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To Be a Dog and Bay at the Moon--Avoiding the Itching Palms: A Consideration of Bribe Taking

Olukonyinsola Ajayi, International Resources Law: Today's Oil, Gas, and Mining Projects (1997)

Although, it is common to all that bribery is bad, it is far from settled what bribery really is. Within the discipline of law, politics, language, sociology and government, for example, different definitions can be given to the term. Again the cultural and socio — political differences in the different parts of the world make it difficult to come up with a universal definition of the term. Accordingly, although, we all view bribery as decadent, what is really deemed to be bad is dependent on our different perspectives.

Bribery, (like corruption), has a moral and ethical dimension — just as it could be criminal in nature. While for some business men bribery is merely part of business [8C-2] cost [that can be passed on to the consumer], for others it is a pernious practice that distorts economic planning and undermines legitimate business. It will be recalled that in the fall of 1996 the US Secretary of State issued a warning to European countries which he stated have laws which rather than prohibit corruption abroad, permit it by allowing their nationals to claim corrupt payments as allowable expenses. What appears to have underpinned the threat was not a moral crusade — but the need to have a level playing field for both US and European exporters. Madeline Albright, U.S. Secretary of State in a speech outlining her policy goals, at the University of Texas on February