Break the corruption chain – International Anti-Corruption Day
Anti-Corruption Programs and Whistleblower Protection
What is corruption? If you look at Transparency International you’ll see corruption being “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain”. Corruption can be classified as grand, petty and political, depending on the amounts of money lost and the sector where it occurs.
Grand corruption consists of acts committed at a high level of government that distort policies or the central functioning of the state, enabling leaders to benefit at the expense of the public good.
Petty corruption refers to everyday abuse of entrusted power by low- and mid-level public officials in their interactions with ordinary citizens, who often are trying to access basic goods or services in places like hospitals, schools, police departments and other agencies.
Political corruption is a manipulation of policies, institutions and rules of procedure in the allocation of resources and financing by political decision makers, who abuse their position to sustain their power, status and wealth.
Corruption is complex and affects all countries. It undermines democratic institutions, slows economic development and contributes to governmental instability.
- Bribery affects one-quarter of the world’s population
- More than 50% of global compliance executives anticipate bribery and corruption risks to their companies
- 75% have no oversight of cyber security
- 58% never train third parties
- Only 43% monitor compliance after a third-party relationship begins
- Only 48% of compliance officers automate their anti-corruption program in some way
On December 7th, the United National formally announced today, December 9th, as International Anti-Corruption Day. Part of the push on this day is stressing the importance of the contributions of whistleblowers.
Whistleblowers are the key source of information on fraud and corruption. However, many face retaliation. Whistleblowers are by far the most common source of information in detecting fraud around the world. While it is important to continue to utilize multiple fraud deterrent methods such as external audits, separation of duties, and fraud awareness training, the most important tool an organization can implement is a confidential hotline. More fraud is detected by tips than by all other means combined. A hotline is simple, provides an immediate means of communication and offers support and encouragement to employees.
Whistleblowers perform a vital role in today’s world. They alert the public to financial fraud and abuse in institutions. But whistleblowers can suffer a lot of abuse. While trying to uncover corruption and combat illegal activity, whistleblowers are put through the wringer as their lives are picked apart during investigations and prosecution of the crime they initially brought to light.
Whistleblowing is an early warning system for misconduct, wrongdoing or dangerous behaviours.
This early warning system is documented in the ACFEs 2014 Report to the Nations. Globally whistleblower tips account for 40% of reported frauds, according to the report – possibly preventing potential disaster, or halting an increasingly growing threat in its tracks.
So why do we contort our faces into a shocked expression when coming face to face with a whistleblower? Why do we cringe? Whistleblowers experience a stigma within their industry when they go public. It often makes them undesirable hires and leaves them unemployed after they have served the public.
But if we want to break the corruption chain, then we need to embrace whistleblowers and what they have to say. It is so important if you are doing business globally, to ensure you have analyzed your potential risk and started to put those policies and procedures into place to protect both the organization, your leadership and your employees. This includes embracing whistleblowers. Listen to your whistleblowers.
Let’s create a speak up culture and break the corruption chain.