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Industry corruption less common than feared

CORRUPTION IN the construction industry is far less common than company executives imagine, a report by management consultants says this week.

Findings showed that almost a third of respondents cited corruption as a problem, while only 9% reported that crimes had occurred.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) interviewed personnel at 184 firms around the world to produce its Economic Crime in the Construction Industry study. PwC's report speculates that recent high-profile cases of financial wrongdoing may have contributed to the heightened awareness of fraud.

But it concludes: 'A combination of the highly competitive nature of the construction tendering process, a lack of transparent selection criteria for many projects, increasingly tighter margins, close relationships between contractors, sub-contractors and sometimes project owners and the historical occurrence of 'cronyism' in the industry may be a greater contributor to this perception.'

Development of more sophisticated IT systems was also highlighted, which provide organisations with greater control over inventories and transportation logistics while minimising the risk of financial oversights.

Internal theft emerged as the most common crime committed, with 21% of respondents highlighting cases at their firms.

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