Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Countering The Corruption Risk Caused By Covid-19


By DEREK SMITH

Corruption and bribery risks, by all indications, increase during a crisis. Over the past decade, a sustained number of corruption and bribery cases have occurred because of entities not fully appreciating the risk attached to their vendors or weak internal anti-bribery regimes. In The Bahamas, I conclude, it is little different. The Bahamas was ranked 81st in the 2019 Bribery Risk Matrix released by TRACE International, a globally recognised anti-bribery business organisation, and the 29th least corrupt nation out of 180 countries by Transparency International.

I have had the distinct fortune of previously working for an institution that had a well-defined and developed anti-corruption compliance culture. Against this background I appreciate the complexities of a robust "culture of compliance". Notwithstanding the above, each institution has its own corporate culture. It is imperative that despite an institution's size, local or global footprint or industry, companies must embody a strong culture of ethics, honesty and legal and regulatory compliance. This is more than possible with senior management commitment, their willingness to support the efforts of their risk and compliance teams over a sustained period of time, and the mindset that not all business is good business.

A strong anti-bribery and corruption ("ABC") policy is a key component of your institution's risk and compliance framework, and will help kick corruption risk out. The ABC policy promotes transparency, the avoidance of conflict of interest, and applies standards both internally and to third parties.

During this pandemic, companies should review and evaluate their "culture of compliance" pertaining to stamping out corruption and bribery risk. Additionally, they must examine, at a minimum, the following areas.  Read more >>