MPs and bribes: same story the world over

July 22nd, 2008 - 8:41 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Gordon Brown

New Delhi, July 22 (IANS) While there may not be many precedents of MPs displaying currency notes right in parliament alleging they were offered bribes, there have been countless cases the world over of cash changing hands, allegedly or otherwise, to make or break governments. It was only last month that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was battling the charge of entering into a “deal” with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) or Labour rebels to secure the vote that saved him from a humiliating defeat over his plans to detain terror suspects for up to 42 days.

His controversial measure was approved by the House of Commons by just nine votes thanks to the support of the nine DUP MPs.

In Canada, the Conservative party was accused of offering bribes to independent MP Chuck Cadman in exchange for his vote to topple the minority Liberal government in May 2005.

Two party operatives offered Cadman, who had terminal cancer, a million-dollar life insurance policy, according to Tom Zytaruk’s book “Like A Rock: The Chuck Cadman Story” which created a furore in Canada.

Earlier this year, Indonesia’s anti-corruption watchdog arrested an MP allegedly carrying wads of cash. House of Representatives lawmaker Bulyan Royan was arrested with $74,657 worth of euros and US currency.

According to media reports at the time, Royan was suspected of accepting bribes in connection with a parliamentary decision to allow the purchase of patrol ships for the transport ministry.

In 2006, as the Czech election led to a stalemate, there were allegations of cash changing hands. Social Democrat MP Pavel Ploc, a former Olympic medallist, told the media he had been approached by two men and offered equivalent of $226,000 to switch sides.

Britain had a precursor to India’s cash-for-query scam of December 2005. In October 1994, The Guardian newspaper alleged that London’s most successful parliamentary lobbyist, Ian Greer of Ian Greer Associates, had bribed two Conservative MPs to ask parliamentary questions on behalf of the controversial Egyptian owner of Harrods department store, Mohamed Al-Fayed.

Then there are instances of cross-border bribery charges too.

Late Benazir Bhutto, as Pakistan prime minister, was accused of bribing a British MP of the Labour party. In exchange for up to 300,000 pounds, the MP was expected to lobby for Pakistan in Britain on the Kashmir issue.

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