Anti-Bribery and Corruption 101

What is corruption and bribery?

The term ‘corruption’ can be used to broadly describe a number of offences including; bribery, extortion, fraud, deception, collusion and money laundering.

Bribery is most commonly defined as “anything of value given, offered, promised, accepted, requested or authorised with the intent that a person who is trusted or expected to act in good faith or with impartiality, performs that function improperly or in order to obtain or retain an advantage in the course of business”.

What are key bribery offences?

  • Bribery of a private person or a public official is criminalised whether it occurs domestically or overseas
  • Companies can be prosecuted if your employee, or your agent, bribes another person to obtain or retain business or any other form of advantage for you if you do not have adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery – this offence is extra-territorial, meaning that domestic organisations can be prosecuted internationally and are not typically protected by local laws if the offence has been committed overseas
  • Facilitation payments, for example to speed up an application for a permit are not permitted

What are the core elements of a good anti-bribery and anti-corruption program?

Proportionality

The action you take should be proportionate to the risks you face and to the size of your business. You may need to do more to prevent bribery if you represent a big organisation or if you are operating in an overseas market where bribery is known to be commonplace.

Top-level Commitment

Leadership should set a top-down example that bribery is not tolerated. Those at the top of the organisation are in the best position to guard against and prevent bribery by making sure executives, middle managers, key people you do business with, and you yourself, understand that bribery is outlawed.

Risk Assessment

This step is key for researching the markets you operate in and the people you deal with, especially if you are entering into new business arrangements or new markets abroad.

Due Diligence around Third Parties

Knowing exactly who you are dealing with can help protect your organisation from taking on vendors that are less than trustworthy. Crucial to third-party risk, you should make adequate checks both before and after engaging others to represent you in business dealings.

Anti-Bribery Policies & Training

Setting up the right policies is a key component to getting your programme started. This includes knowing and clearly stating what your organisation will not tolerate and the steps of action to take when potential bribery is witnessed.

Monitoring & Reporting Misconduct

Think about how employees and others will let you know if they see bribery or corruption at play. Ensure clear lines of communication are open to you and those on your team. Identify any potential cultural or reporting issues that may prevent your employees from speaking -up about a concern and ensure that your organisation has the mechanisms in place to act appropriately.

Further resources

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