Woolf's BAE ethics review calls for tougher anti-bribery controls

BAE Systems, the defence giant which has been dogged by corruption allegations, has admitted eth-ical failings in the conduct of its business, a report revealed yesterday.

An independent inquiry chaired by the former Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf, revealed that "both the chairman and the chief executive [of BAE], in discussions with us, acknowledge that the company did not in the past pay sufficient attention to ethical standards".

The report, commissioned by BAE in the wake of a series of scandals, concluded that while it had cleaned up some of its business practices, it still had "a substantial task ahead if it is to meet higher standards".

The disclosure comes as the House of Lords prepares to rule whether the Serious Fraud Office should re-open its inquiry into BAE's arms deals with Saudi Arabia. The Law Lords are reviewing whether the SFO unlawfully terminated its investigation into claims that BAE illegally paid hundreds of millions of pounds in bribes to secure part of a £43bn arms deal between Britain and the Saudis in 2006. The al-Yamamah deal was signed in the 1980s but continued into the 1990s, and involved BAE selling Tornado and Hawk jets, as well as other weapons, and also included long-running maintenance and training contracts.

BAE has been dogged by allegations of unethical practices, which have damaged its reputation and also drawn in the Government. Lord Woolf's report sets out 23 recommendations for the company, which BAE has pledged to implement. Both the chairman, Dick Olver, and the chief executive, Mike Turner, "acknowledged that the company did not in the past pay sufficient attention to ethical standards and avoid activities that had the potential to give rise to reputational damage", said the report.

It added: "They recognise that, justly or otherwise, these perceptions have damaged the company's reputation and that it must continue along the route of taking all practicable steps to ensure that such circumstances do not re-occur in relation to future contracts."

Lord Woolf said: "If you are a company that indulges in unethical behaviour, you will find yourself in the position BAE finds itself in."

However, he added: "I emphasise that I am talking about the present. Nothing that we identified in the activities of this company at the present time suggest that it is corrupt."

He also denied that his £1.7m inquiry was a whitewash, saying that he and his committee were asked to assess BAE's current procedures and plot the best way forward for the group.

"This is a robust report that gives demanding recommendations for the future. We were not given the job of looking at the past, so we can hardly be accused of whitewashing something we weren't asked to do."

He likened BAE's situation to that of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, saying that however many reports were conducted into it, some people would "never be satisfied". "Many people would say sometimes 'enough is enough' if you are referring, as most people are, to what happened 20 years ago," he added.

His committee urged BAE to develop, publish and implement a global code of ethical business conduct overseen by internal auditors. He also called for a senior executive to take charge of "ensuring and assuring high standards across the company".

Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
tvExecutive says content is not 'without any purpose'
News
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
sportLeague Managers' Association had described Malky Mackay texts as 'friendly banter'
News
A polar bear’s diet is rich in seal blubber and half of its own body weight is composed of fat
i100
News
peopleCareer spanned 70 years, including work with Holocaust survivors
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
people
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
News
London is the most expensive city in Europe for cultural activities such as ballet
arts
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
tv
Extras
indybest
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Application Support - Enterprise Java, SQL, Oracle, SQL Server

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A well-established financial soft...

Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Desktop, Surrey)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Deskto...

Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Desktop, Surrey)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Deskto...

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape