If today we carry out a survey of citizens and ask them “what is the most corrupt sector?” the majority probably would answer “construction”. Although we do not have a study in Peru that shows the different rates of corruption by sector or industry, it is not necessary to delve too deeply into the fact that, in one way or another, the Odebrecht case is still “fresh” in our minds.
Why do we usually hear about so many cases of corruption in this type of activity? Let’s record that the world’s largest infrastructure construction projects are related to infrastructure, tendered by the States. For companies it makes sense, from an economic point of view, to pay a “marginal” price in exchange for a lucrative contract.
Where do the risks that the construction sector faces in terms of ethics and compliance occur? Unethical practices can take place in the different phases from a project: during its planning, design, bidding and operation processes we can find bribes to public bodies, conflicts of interest, labor abuses, collusion between contractors and supervisors, control of budget lines, bogus hires … and the list goes on.
It is important to notice that, beyond the effect and serious consequences of corruption itself, a negative impact can be on the same projects: that they can be unnecessary, inadequate, delivered late or overrated (a story that, as Peruvians, we already know).
For this reason, the ethical aspects analyzed not only have an impact on the sector itself, but also on the development of a country. Corruption affects public procurement, generating from the waste of monetary resources to the lack of confidence in private companies and in the State itself. Good ethical practices in construction, therefore, are vital.