Let’s talk bribery…
INTEGRITY BEAT - Henry J. Schumacher (The Freeman) - January 18, 2019 - 12:00am

Everybody in business understands that one of the main reasons a salesperson would make a bribe is to make a sale. This kind of corrupt practice is common and even expected in many areas of the world. It is why sales and anti-corruption compliance are so often uttered in the same breath.

 

Sales and compliance is a pairing that must be examined closely and continuously. However, risk assessments often are not thorough; internal controls do not catch suspicious transactions; one side does not know (or trust) what the other one is doing.

When the compliance and sales functions are not aligned with respect to how they approach anti-corruption risk, all of the above missteps can happen. Even more frustrating is that most sales leaders want to behave ethically; they want to close sales based on their own skill rather than by cheating. Winning is that much sweeter when they do. So then, how do things keep going awry in practice?

In developing programs for countering bribery, companies should identify and assess specific areas that pose the greatest risks from corruption. The programs should at a minimum cover the following areas:

Bribes

• The company must prohibit bribery in all business transactions that are carried out either directly or through third parties, specifically including, subsidiaries, joint ventures, agents, representatives, consultants, brokers, suppliers or any intermediary under its effective control.

• The company should prohibit bribery in any form, including on any contract payment or portion of a contract payment, or by any means or channels to provide improper benefits to customers, agents, contractors, suppliers or employees thereof.

Political contributions

• The company, its employees or intermediaries should not make direct or indirect contributions to political parties, party officials, candidates or organizations or individuals engaged in politics, unless the political contributions are transparent and made in accordance with applicable law.

Charitable contributions

and sponsorships

• The company should ensure that charitable contributions and sponsorships are not used as a subterfuge for bribery and that they are made in a transparent way and in accordance with applicable law.

Facilitation payments

• Facilitation payments are prohibited under the anti-bribery laws of most countries; companies should just eliminate them.

Gifts, hospitality and expenses

• The company should prohibit the offer or receipt of gifts, hospitality or expenses whenever such arrangements could improperly affect, or might be perceived to improperly affect, the outcome of procurement or other business transactions. Company programs should include controls and procedures, including thresholds and reporting procedures to ensure that the company’s policies relating to gifts, hospitality and expenses are followed.

To provide a framework for good business practices and risk management strategies for countering bribery, companies should

• eliminate bribery;

• demonstrate their commitment to countering bribery by signing the Integrity Pledge of the Integrity Initiative, Inc. and live up to the commitments that are included in the Pledge, such as

? we will prohibit bribery,

? we will maintain a Code of Conduct to guide our employees towards ethical and accountable behavior,

? we will conduct training programs for our employees to promote integrity,

? we will implement appropriate internal systems and controls to prevent unethical conduct,

? we will maintain appropriate financial reporting mechanisms that will be accurate and transparent,

? we will maintain channels by which employees and other stakeholders can raise ethical concerns,

? we will enter into integrity pacts with other businesses and with government agencies, and we will refrain from engaging in business with parties who have demonstrated  unethical business practices;

• make a positive contribution to improving business standards of integrity, transparency and accountability wherever they operate.

Encouraging ethical conduct rather than merely “teaching compliance” will position your organization for greater success. Feedback is welcome – contact me at Schumacher@eitsc.com

ANTI-CORRUPTION
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