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Corruption, whatever field of business you are involved in, is unacceptable. It can, when caught, result in high fines and some cases, prison sentences. You have to avoid and report corruption. In this article, we will tell you how you can avoid being accused of corruption, and how you can avoid having your employees accused of corruption. It is important that you do, as you could otherwise wind-up spending time in prison; if caught for bribery and corruption, you could have to forfeit any profits you may have made, which could see you having to give up your home, car, and lifestyle.
Here is how to avoid being accused of corruption.
Adhering to FCPA compliance is important for avoiding corruption. FCPA or the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act compliance includes; knowing the laws surrounding corruption; setting a precedent for employees and ensuring they know that corruption is wrong; working closely with legal counsel; keeping documents with sensitive information secure; researching, understanding, and studying FCPA provisions most likely to be violated; overseeing audits to ensure no corruption has occurred; working with compliance experts. Adhering to the FCPA is very important for avoiding corruption.
Corruption can occur at any level in your business, but by adhering to FCPA compliance, you can minimize the chances of it occurring.
Anti-Corruption and Anti-Bribery Policies
Most businesses have anti-corruption and anti-bribery policies – it is not the policies, however, that make a difference, but rather, the way that they are implemented. You must ensure all of your staff know the difference between a gift and a bribe, political donations, and donations. Keeping your staff well aware of what is considered bribery will aid them in avoiding it and will help them to stay on the straight and narrow and prevent you from being accused of corruption. If corruption occurs at any level in your business, you risk being considered to be part of it, or at the very least, could be blamed for not preventing it.Corruption, whatever field of business you are involved in, is unacceptable. It can, when caught, result in high fines and some cases, prison sentences. You have to avoid and report corruption.Click To Tweet
Not only should you keep your staff aware that corruption and bribery are unacceptable, but you should send clear and consistent messages from the top down to keep them away from corruption and bribery. These messages should come not only from you but from other members that rank highly in your business, including the board of directors and managers of all levels. You should make it clear nobody will tolerate corruption in your business and anybody who is found to be practicing corruption or bribery will be sanctioned and made unemployed, with legal involvement possible. You must have the top-level of your business practice what they preach – if high-level members of your business are seen to be corrupt, it is far more likely the lower-level of your business will also practice corruption.
If you are given gifts, whether, from politicians, other businessmen, or just members of the public, you must ensure that they meet the following criteria:
- The gift must have a legitimate and viable purpose, and must not be related to any business deals or agreements;
- The gift must be genuine and must not have any ulterior motive, such as to persuade you into agreeing to a business deal or arrangement;
- The gift must be within proportion and must not be very expensive or lavish, such as a sports car, expensive alcohol, or jewelry;
- The gift must be transparent and declared openly in your business’s Gifts and Hospitality Register.
Research and Verification
Anti-bribery regulations are also applied to any third-party businesses who are associated with you or act on your behalf. You are responsible under anti-bribery law and regulations to verify and check these third party’s to ensure that they are not engaging in unlawful corruption or bribery. You can do this by implementing systems to check them regularly and control their behavior, as well as ensuring that they are who they purport to be and to ensure that they do not have secret histories of corruption that you didn’t know about initially.
As a business owner or a member of a business, you should watch out for warning signs of corruption and bribery; knowing about corruption and not stopping it or reporting it can make you partial to the corruption itself. If you notice intentional acts of corruption, you must report them. Here are a few warning signs for you to watch for:
- Members of your business ‘facilitating’ for important guests;
- High fees or commissions unlike those usually seen in your field of business;
- Confidentiality [businesses should always be transparent];
- No record, history, or knowledge of dealings with ‘important clients’;
- Meetings that have an insistence upon no other representatives from your business being there;
- Advance cash payments;
- Third-party payments, or payments being dealt with through intermediaries;
- Business envoys representing companies who operate in countries with high levels of corruption and bribery.
It is very important that whatever level you are at, that you report bribery or corruption as soon as it is made apparent to you. If you do not, your employers or law enforcement could consider you part of the corruption, which could see you getting into a lot of trouble. It is important that if your job involves a risk of non-compliance, that you adhere strictly to the anti-corruption regulations, and if any of your colleagues are not, that you gain evidence and report them.
If you are dealing with foreign envoys or business representatives from companies with high levels of corruption, introducing precautions is a great way to ensure that you are not accused of corruption. Some of these could be; recording your interactions; bringing a person to listen to and report back on everything that is said; meeting with multiple representatives; meeting in your office rather than a private location.
Introducing extra precautions is a good way to avoid being accused of corruption and to ensure you maintain trust among your other employees and your employers.
With this page, you now know how you can avoid being accused of corruption. Corruption is a very nasty thing that can permeate all levels of business – it is to be avoided like the plague. We hope you enjoyed the read.