Deal to fight corruption in building sector
A deal to fight bribery and corruption in the construction business has been reached between the industry and the public sector.
The agreement is the first comprehensive accord against corruption in the construction sector and will tighten the rules for what can be considered a bribe, the daily Svenska Dagbladet reports. Common practices in the business, like giving clients free hockey game tickets or cruises to Finland will be illegal.
According to the Swedish Crime Survey, almost one third of all the bribes reported in 2013 were in the construction sector.
Helena Sundén, secretary general for the Swedish Anti-corruption Institute, says the idea behind the new measures came two and half years ago when construction companies approached her asking for guidelines to be drawn up on acceptable practices.
"Everyone had quite different rules on what are we allowed to offer and what are we allowed to accept," she tells Radio Sweden.
Sundén says the Swedish construction industry has a long-established problem with corruption. She says it was common to hear stories of employees receiving hockey games tickets or cruises to Finland.
She says new rules would help employees both in the public and private sector to understand what lines can not be crossed and was ultimately based on Swedish law.
"It's all a question of building long-term businesses but also keeping that good high trust that we have in Sweden," Sundén says.
The agreement was signed by some of Sweden's largest construction firms, including Skanska, NCC, JM, Peab and Veidekke, business associations like Byggherrarna and Sveriges Byggindustrier and the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions.