Bribery and corruption have become a generic word used daily has it is an issue which has eaten deep into the fabrics of the world and more specifically in Nigeria. Nigeria being the 144 least corrupt nation out of 175 countries, according to the 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International. Corruption Rank in Nigeria averaged 121.48 from 1996 until 2018, reaching an all-time high of 152 in 2005 and a record low of 52 in 1997.
This clearly shows the need to create policies, laws, agencies, procedures or measures to combat these issues of bribery and corruption in all facets of the country ranging from organizations or companies, government agencies, private individuals, churches and nonprofit organizations.
Thus this article seeks to enlighten on matters bribery and corruption, as well as proffer guides on combatting bribery and corruption for organizations and foreign investors.
Is to try to make someone do something for you by giving them money, presents, or something else that they want or the gift bestowed to influence the recipient's conduct.
Is defined as the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or other person in charge of a public or legal duty.
Is a form of dishonesty or criminal activity undertaken by a person or organization entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire illicit benefit.
Is any individual or organization you are in contact with during the course of your work, and includes actual and potential customers, suppliers, vendors, logistics providers, distributors, business contacts, agents, advisers, and government and public bodies.
LAWS ON BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION
There are several laws which deal with corruption. This article states a few of the main legislations; The 1999 Constitution, The Economic and Financial Crime Commission Act, The Corrupt Practices & Other Related Offences Act, Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act. All of each Act having their effect on the public official for ICPC, or corporate or economic crimes for EFCC.
This other Acts have extra-territorial effects as such they cover foreign individual and corporate bodies outside their jurisdiction, in the country they are carrying business against involving in bribery and corruption, thus they are The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act 1977 for American citizens, Uk Bribery Act 2010 for British citizen.
Altogether, these Acts seeks to fight against bribery and corruption.
The Application of this policy is for employers, employees, public officials, foreign investors, nonprofit organizations, persons or entities acting on the organization's behalf could include business associates, partners, agents, intermediaries, representatives, suppliers, contractors, third party service providers and, consultants(collectively "Third Parties").
The purpose of this article is to emphasis the need for organization develop policies to help conduct its business with honesty and integrity and in full compliance with applicable anti-bribery or anti-corruption laws as stated above.
POLICY AND PROCEDURES
Cash payments, loans or non-arm's length transactions, social benefits, gifts, travel, hospitality and the reimbursement of expenses that might be perceived as bribery. The organization strictly should prohibits all bribery or corruption, in any form whatsoever.
Means the payment of a small, unofficial amount or advantage to a Public Official without a written receipt in order to secure or expedite a routine government action. For example, making "grease" payments to arrange or speed up a service like issuing a passport or visa, or obtaining approvals and licenses, or to avoid prosecution by authorities or penalties.
Political Donations and Lobbying
Do not offer contributions to political parties or candidates that might influence, or be perceived as influencing, a business decision. To ensure that we do not breach the law regarding political donations in the country, all political donations, no matter how small or insignificant, made on behalf of the organization (directly or indirectly) must be authorized. This is prohibited even in Section 38(2) CAMA for companies.
Do not engage in any lobbying activities on behalf of the organization without specific authorization from board or whoever is in charge in the company. An organization can encourage its employees, officers and directors to take an active role in public service. However, any participation in this regard is to be undertaken as an individual and not as a representative of the organization.
Lobbying activities generally include attempts to influence the passage or defeat of legislation and it may trigger registration and reporting requirements.
Do not solicit or offer donations to suppliers, vendors or public officials in a manner which communicates that a donation is a prerequisite for future business or that the offer of a donation is intended to obtain a business advantage. It advised that directors, officers and employees to contribute personal time and resources to charities and nonprofit organizations. However, unless the solicitation is supported by the organization employees are prohibited from using the organization's resources to solicit donations.
Third Parties are not permitted to pay, offer, accept or request bribe on the organization's behalf. Organization can be prosecuted for failing to prevent bribery by a person associated with it such as an agent or independent contractor. This means due diligence shall be undertaken on Third Parties to establish their anti-bribery credentials, where warranted by the assessed level of risk. These persons could be informed of this policy, meeting with them to better assess their character, and making commercially reasonable inquiries into their reputation and past conduct, so to avoid issues of bribery and corruption bringing disrepute to the organization.
Dealing with Public Officials
A "public official" is any person who is employed by or is acting in an official capacity for a government, a department, agency of a government, or a public international organization. There is increased sensitivity and scrutiny of dealings with public officials because this has traditionally been an area where bribery activity and corruption are more likely to occur. Parties are to be conscious of these risks in your dealings and interactions with public officials and consider how your actions may be viewed. For example, payments, gifts or employment to close relatives of public officials may be treated by enforcement authorities as direct payments to the public officials and therefore may constitute violations of law. As a result, gifts to public officials are strictly prohibited and entertainment for public officials should be modest and reasonable. Additionally, because interactions with public officials carry special risks under applicable anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws, contracts and payments to public officials should be reviewed carefully to determine what additional safeguards, if any, may be necessary to protect the organization.
Nigeria Whistle Blowing Policy
The Nigeria whistle blowers Act is a law that protects individuals who work for the government or organizations and report misconduct in their organizations. They are encouraged to expose any kind of information or activity that is illegal or unethical. The whistle blowers can choose to operate within an organization or involve a third party.
According to the Federal Ministry of Finance (FMF) the whistle blowing programme of the federal government is principally designed to increase exposure of financial or financial related crimes, support the fight against financial crimes and corruption, improved level of public confidence in public entities, enhance transparency and accountability in the management of public funds, improve Nigeria's open government ranking and ease of doing business indicators, and recovery of public funds that can be deployed to finance Nigeria's infrastructure deficit.
Under the policy, whistleblowers are required to provide information in respect of mismanagement or misappropriation of public funds and assets (e.g. properties and vehicles), financial malpractice or fraud; collecting or soliciting for bribes, diversion of revenues; fraudulent and unapproved payments, splitting of contracts, procurement fraud (kickbacks and over-invoicing etc.).
A whistleblower is entitled to a reward of about 2.5% – 5% of the amount recovered if he provides the Government with information that directly led to the voluntary return of stolen or concealed public funds or assets, provided the information is one that the Government does not already have and which it could not have obtained from any other publicly available source. The whistleblower would only get rewarded if the money is recovered on account of the information supplied by him. To ensure the security of whistle blowers information could be submitted anonymously.
Public officers or private individuals who have cause to blow the whistle are entitled to protection from victimization. The intention of the government as seen from the above is to create polices against bribery and corruption. To encourage individuals give reports of bribery and corruption of any form.
It is advised each organization's board should have overall responsibility in ensuring that their policy is updated as required to remain in compliance with applicable laws in force, and is implemented and strictly enforced to demonstrate visible commitment to eradicating Bribery and Corruption. The Compliance Officer shall be responsible for the day-to-day implementation and enforcement of the policy, including the conduct of training, compliance programs, and investigations of any issues arising.
The Board of each organization shall ensure the implementation of programmes to counter Bribery and Corruption such as:
(a)Developing and embedding of ethical values, the Code of Conduct, and Policies and Procedures;
(b) Establishing an Anti-Bribery and Corruption (ABC) policy or programme;
(c) Developing and implementing a risk management and control mechanism, employing internal and external communication, trainings, audits or any other suitable methodology, also have a business integrity department;
(d) Integrating Corruption prevention initiatives and strategies in the Company's business operations and activities;
(e) Ensuring the implementation of a mechanism for Directors and Employees to report violation of this Policy;
(f) Receiving, reviewing and taking action on Corruption reports, and making reports to the public and appropriate government authorities where necessary (whistle blow); and
(g)Compliance checklist to avoid violations must be put in place, assigning a Compliance Officer who oversees every activity.
In closing, it is imperative for organizations or companies, government agencies, private individuals, foreign companies, churches and nonprofit organizations to develop anti-bribery and corruption policies to help guide the mode or manner of operations for their organizations to avoid being mortified or sanctioned by the law.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances. Should you have any questions relating to this article – please do not hesitate to reach:
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.