Fighting Customs Corruption

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Fighting Customs Corruption

As a freight forwarding company, customs compliance is of the utmost importance to us. We’ve built our legacy, in part, on our strong relationships with customs offices around the world and our fastidious attention paid to ensuring that we are in full compliance with local and international regulations at all times. However, corruption rears its ugly head no matter where in the world you go.

According to World Bank research, bribes to the value of US$ 1.5 trillion are paid every year. However companies and individuals are reluctant to come forward and share their experiences with corruption, for the fear of legal implications. Röhlig-Grindrod takes a zero-tolerance stance on corruption at customs offices.

Why Does Corruption Continue?

1 – Despite the fact that automation processes are being put in place, uptake of the new technology, especially in Africa, is still incomplete. This has two effects: it slows down the process, and it allows more opportunities for corrupt officials to interfere with the process.

2 – The process needs to be modernised, as there are many cases where superfluous clearing stages are added to the overall process. In some cases, obsolete and outdated duties are still part of the process in order to avoid job cuts and to protect individuals who do not have the necessary skills to fulfil alternative roles.

3 – Corruption is not reported due to fear of retaliation (cargo not being timeously cleared, for example) and a lack of protection for whistle blowers.

4 – Political challenges have resulted in economic hardship for many people across the African continent. As a result, bribery is the only way that some are able to make enough money to support themselves and their families.

5 – Recruitment of customs officials is susceptible to political interference. As a result, recruitment is not based on merit, which can also lead to conflicts and frustration within customs administrations.

6 – According to experts, the vast majority of customs administrations do not have any anti-corruption measures in place.

7 – Campaigns around corruption centre on the negative consequences, rather than the positive aspects of maintaining compliance.

Transparency and collaboration are vital if customs corruption is to be stamped out once and for all. We urge all freight forwarders to take a zero tolerance stance when it comes to customs corruption.


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