Bribery is a widespread phenomenon. It raises serious social, moral, economic and political concerns, undermines good governance, hinders development and distorts competition. It erodes justice, undermines human rights and is an obstacle to the relief of poverty. It also increases the cost of doingbusiness, introduces uncertainties into commercial transactions, increases the cost of goods and services, diminishes the quality of products and services, which can lead to loss of life and property, destroys trust in institutions and interferes with the fair and efficient operation of markets.
Governments have made progress in addressing bribery through international agreements such as the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactionsand the United Nations Convention against Corruption and through their national laws. In most jurisdictions, it is an offence for individuals to engage in bribery and there is a growing trend to make organizations, as well as individuals, liable for bribery.
However, the law alone is not sufficient to solve this problem. Organizations have a responsibility to proactively contribute to combating bribery. This can be achieved by an anti-bribery management system, which this document is intended to provide, and through leadership commitment to establishing a culture of integrity, transparency, openness and compliance. The nature of an organization’s culture is critical to the success or failure of an anti-bribery management system.
A well-managed organization is expected to have a compliance policy supported by appropriate management systems to assist it in complying with its legal obligations and commitment to integrity. An anti-bribery policy is a component of an overall compliance policy. The anti-bribery policy and supporting management system helps an organization to avoid or mitigate the costs, risks and damage of involvement in bribery, to promote trust and confidence in business dealings and to enhance its reputation.
This document reflects international good practice and can be used in all jurisdictions. It is applicable to small, medium and large organizations in all sectors, including public, private and not-for-profit sectors.
The bribery risks facing an organization vary according to factors such as the size of the organization, the locations and sectors in which the organization operates, and the nature, scale and complexity of the organization’s activities in relation to the organization, as it is not possible to completely eliminate the risk of bribery.