By Arghemar Perez
SCCE Certified Compliance & Ethics Professional
Ethical Alliance Certified Member
Credited to Practice Law in Venezuela
Bribery is what I like to call a “natural phenomenon.” It is pure human nature. As such, multi-jurisdictional organizations are faced with an interesting challenge: to mitigate the risk of bribery as it is impossible to eradicate. So, a few questions arise when addressing the subject: whether policies, procedures and global plans are designed and implemented to meet corporate governance parameters, comply with legal standards, build a robust defense if scrutinized or effectively prevent and/or detect potential and/or existing compromising situations.
Organizations tie themselves into knots trying to “get into gear” when it comes to FCPA, UKBA, ISO Requirements, ICC Key Anti-corruption Tools and domestic anti-corruption laws, to name a few. This is an effort that has proven to be worthy of a dedicated team of professionals looking after a successful operational pathway for doing business, which is no longer only about sales, but also about “safety”: bribery prevention, detection and response.
The importance of a tailor-made anti-bribery management system goes beyond formalities and very deep into business substance. It actually preserves competitiveness by avoiding not only financial and reputational negative impact, but also collateral damage that could cause long-term harm, since bribery –as an act of corruption- also could invalidate insurance policies, result in default of loan engagements or breach of equity investment agreements, cause arbitration to be unenforceable under bilateral investment protection treaties, prevent companies from receiving public lending and government subsidies, withhold government contracts, in other words, indirectly but considerably affect market presence.
Whether outbound or inbound bribery, this is a cost most organizations are unwilling to afford in such a progressive global economy. It is why anti-bribery frameworks come as an essential tool when designed from the inside, to serve and meet outside needs and standards. At the end, it should be about creating a healthy “organizational psyche” and anticipating egotistical responses when conducting business at levels where leverage and profitability are involved. This final goal materializes in a comprehensive set of “ethical business” policies and procedures, embedded by governing bodies and top management, ensuring that best practices, systematic parameters of conduct and monitoring all set the tone throughout the organization; thus, earning the support of employees, customers and stakeholders.
Considering the unrelenting tenacity of some regulators in enforcing anti-bribery laws, market share drivers add a new “C” as a leading indicator of future market share: Compliance; and most emphatically, anti-bribery compliance given the cross-border connotation now applicable to any kind of business.How Bribery is Affecting Competition Click To Tweet