Corruption Amnesty – Risks to Companies
Leigh Beijer*, CA | CFE | CAMS
MNP Investigative and Forensic Services
Earlier this month, privately owned Griffiths Energy pled guilty to bribery charges and offered to pay a substantial fine. On Friday, January 25, 2013 Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Scott Booker agreed with the terms of the charges and penalty.
The fine and charges are in relation to bribes made to a Chad Government Official via payments to a company owned by the official’s wife for consulting contracts. This is the largest fine paid to date for charges under the Canadian Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (CCFPOA) and, perhaps more importantly, was the result of a voluntary disclosure. In addition to the fine and the investigation costs, company management put the brakes on an IPO that was being planned.
This case highlights a number of things that Canadian private and public companies doing business in foreign jurisdictions need to be aware of, including:
Avoiding the situation all together
The best way to avoid this situation altogether is to develop a meaningful risk-based corruption compliance program which includes, but is not limited to;
This last point is particularly useful if your organization operates in one of the more vulnerable sectors such as mining, oil and gas or international construction, or in one of the jurisdictions considered to be high risk or highly corrupt as identified by Transparency International. Those jurisdictions are listed at: http://www.transparency.org/cpi2012/results
* Leigh Beijer, CA | CFE | CAMS, is the Senior Manager - Forensics at MNP Investigative and Forensic Services in Toronto