ABC (Anti-Bribery and Corruption)

BRIBERY RISK

Bribery and Corruption represents a high risk for commercial organisations.  One ‘incident’ can result in criminal proceedings against individuals suspected of involvement in bribery, conviction of officers of the organisation responsible for the acts of rogue employees/agents/repsentatives/’associated persons’ and prosecution of the organisation itself.

Your organisation today is, for the purposes of ABC, an extended enterprise that reaches into your supplier base and your customers. An event anywhere across that continuum could directly impact your organisation.

The result could be imprisonment, substantial financial penalties, blacklisting and severe damage to your organisation’s reputation.

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS   

Bribery and Corruption has been receiving more and more attention worldwide in recent years.  The US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) was a milestone in the fight against Bribery, with many organisations using it as the basis for their anti-bribery policies and procedures.  The UK Bribery Act 2010 has taken the fight against corruption to a new level.  This Act, and the associated Guidance (both issued in 2011), are widely regarded as the benchmark, with compliance likely to allow organisations meet their legal obligations wherever they operate in the world. Note that the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in the UK and the Department of Justice or the SEC in the US can pursue a prosecution for bribery or corruption for any organisation operating a part of their business in the UK or US respectively, regardless of which part of the entity was responsible for the improper conduct.

RESPONDING TO THE RISK OF BRIBERY

To comply with the bribery and corruption laws of most countries, oganisations need to have risk management procedures in place that address the risk of bribery or corruption. In addition, under most jurisdictions, having ‘adequate procedures’ in place to combat against these risks can be the difference between being prosecuted and exiting unscathed from an investigation. As an example, the UK Ministry of Justice Bribery Act Guidance proposes that organisations adopt ‘a risk-based approach to managing bribery risks’, so that they can focus more effort on the greatest threats they face.  In any case, an initial risk assessment, to highlight areas of the business of greatest concern, is highly recommended.  This could identify, for example, jurisdictions on which to focus extra effort. ‘Adequate measures’ in these cases could include carrying out compliance audits, extending training to third parties and conducting due diligence reviews of partners and local representatives, if they represent a bribery risk to the organisation.  The FCPA guidance has a similar focus on risk assessment.

HOW GRMSi CAN HELP

Whether stated or implied, most bribery and corruption acts allow for leniency and even a full defence, in considering the guilt of an organisation, if it show that the organisation had in place adequate procedures designed to prevent persons associated with it from undertaking the offence.  At GRMSi we can help our clients combat the risk of bribery and corruption, including fraud, and bolster their defence in the event of improper conduct, through:
  • Conducting Independent Risk Assessments, to determine areas of your business subject to the highest risk
  • Training staff, and anyone else acting on your behalf, in particular those identified (through a Risk Assessment) as working in high risk functions. We can also help advise you on maintaining records of all training activities and risk management activities undertaken in general. 
  • Advising on other means of Communication, to increase awareness of the enterprise’s commitment to tackling bribery risk.
  • Helping you establishing clear and unambigious Anti-bribery and Corruption (ABC) and Anti-fraud Policies and Procedures
  • Conducting Due Diligence reviews, where warranted, on representatives and potential partners and ensuring any Agreements you have with them reflects your approach to these risks
  • Setting up regular monitoring and reviewing protocols, or a single one-off review, to check on the effectiveness of your ABC and Anti-fraud procedures, controls and systems.