Should I pay the $500 bribe for the permit?

He said I’d have to give him $500 to get the permit. I didn’t know what to do because we couldn’t open without the permit. I asked everyone for advice. My parents said to pay him – this is how business was done. My sister said it was wrong to pay him. Our lawyers said this was normal, but they couldn’t advise us on this. Finally, I just paid so we could open up.

How do we account for bribes to the customs agent?

We have to bribe the customs agent every time we ship something out of the country. How do we report this in our accounts? Does this go into the cost of goods?

Corruption: He said if I gave him $150, he would let me go

All the raw materials for my company come from abroad. We collect them ourselves after they clear customs. Yesterday, I went to make the normal pick up and had all the documentation on hand. A customs agent I don’t know started asking me questions and wanted to open some crates. This has never happened before.

He told me he couldn’t release the goods because of issues with the “paperwork.” I asked what I needed to do and he told me to start again. This would take weeks and we would run out of materials. I asked if there was a way to amend the existing paperwork. He said no, but that if I gave him $150, he could let me go.

I didn’t know what to do. Was this a trick to catch me offering a bribe? Or was he telling the truth and somehow we had messed up the paperwork this time?