To build you must be bent

Alan Heath
03-06-2002, 00:00

Corruption is the one of the greatest obstacles holding back the construction industry in this country. In its 1999 report, the World Bank paid a lot of attention to the malaise of bent civil servants demanding cash in exchange for granting public works contracts. Around seventy percent of those public contracts are for construction. Almost four years on and the situation has only got worse.

Corruption in this country is completely out of control. No company is going to come out and attack it openly because if it did that it would not get a single public contract. It has often been said on many occasions that there is only one crime in Poland and that is to not pay a bribe. The penalty for a construction company not to do so would in many cases be bankruptcy. Before writing this article we spoke to the MD of a major quoted company. He just wished us good luck.

A representative of a major developer who wished to remain anonymous said that this is a difficult market and to stay afloat one has to do all sorts of things. It is no secret that to win a good contract some ten percent of the value has to end up in the pocket of the person making the order. It is of absolute irrelevance if a tender were held. A tender can always be cancelled or held again.

Some investors are even saying that twenty percent of an investment could be costs in paying people off. Businesspeople admit that there is a skill in knowing how much to pay to win a contract. Everything depends on the size of the deal to be won and how to approach the matter. Barbara Blida, MP and MD of developers JW Construction says that the truth of the matter is that the rate paid will depend on the company and not the civil servants.

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