A new report by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) notes progress made in fighting bribery by South Korea and Mexico while calling on Armenia and Kazakhstan to strengthen their anti-corruption efforts.

The OECD report said South Korea has “successfully prosecuted nine foreign bribery cases since 2002, most of them involving the bribery of foreign military staff on (South)Korean soil.”

While acknowledging that improvements have been made in Mexico, the OECD report says the country “needs to give greater priority to the criminal enforcement of bribery and ensure that its criminal law enforcement authorities have all the resources and expertise they need…”

Reports from the two countries were considered by a Working Group on Bribery made up of the 34 developed countries of the OECD plus Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Russia and South Africa.

The cases of Armenia and Kazakhstan were considered by the Istanbul Anti-Corruption Action Plan (IAP), an initiative launched in 2003 to support anti-corruption reform efforts in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. It is part of the OECD’s Working Group.

The IAP report acknowledged that “Armenia’s leaders have recently taken steps to improve their country’s anti-corruption policies, legislations and institutions. However citizens and business still consider corruption a major problem and public awareness of the damages it causes is rising.”

The IAP commended Kazakh leaders for declaring that the fight against corruption is a top priority and for ratifying the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) but said “Kazakhstan should complete the reform of its criminal legislation in order to comply with international standards…”

In its update of March 2011, the OECD’s Working Group on Bribery published data on the number of criminal, administrative and civil cases that have resulted in convictions or acquittals.  The tally includes 199 individuals and 91 entities that have been sanctioned in 13 countries under criminal proceedings for foreign bribery between 1999 and the end of 2010.