Mr. Ian Gillespie
Export Development Canada
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 1K3
August 21, 2003
Dear Mr. Gillespie,
We are writing to ask for a clear statement of EDC's policy on bribery and convicted companies.
As you know, Acres International, an EDC repeat customer, has recently lost its appeal of a bribery conviction in Lesotho, for its role in the corruption surrounding the Lesotho Highlands Water Project.
As EDC was not involved in providing support to Acres International in this transaction, to our knowledge; it is unclear how this conviction will affect EDC’s relationship with Acres International. EDC’s anti-corruption program makes no comments on client relationships when a client has been found guilty of bribery in a non-EDC transaction.
We believe that EDC needs be proactive in weeding out bribe-givers from its list of clients. We ask you to commit to a thorough investigation of all transactions involving Acres International, and a barring of Acres International from future EDC transactions for a period no less than 5 years.
Corruption and bribery distorts markets and undermines efforts at democracy and development. It is difficult to investigate, particularly as there are inadequate resources available. Lesotho, a poor country, has taken its commitment to fight corruption seriously.
We look forward to learning how EDC will taking into account the decision of the Lesotho Appeal Court of August 15, 2003.
On behalf of the NGO Working Group on EDC
cc. The Honourable Pierre Pettigrew, Minister of International Trade
The Honourable Maurice Cauchon, Minister of Justice