What Is Bribery And Corruption?

Posted in Anti-Bribery and Corruption (ABC) on May 21, 2024
What Is Bribery And Corruption?

What is bribery and corruption? Corruption is defined as dishonest or fraudulent behavior by those in positions of power, typically involving bribery. Bribery is defined as offering, giving, or receiving anything of value with the intent of inducing or rewarding someone for acting.

What Is Bribery And Corruption?

What Is Bribery And Corruption?

Bribery refers to the offering, promising, giving, accepting, or soliciting of an advantage as an inducement for an action that is illegal, unethical, or a breach of trust.

The inducement or bribe can take the form of anything of value to the person receiving it, including:

  • cash and cash equivalents (for example, gift cards);
  • gifts, meals, entertainment, travel;
  • fees (this includes fees claimed to be consulting or success fees);
  • commissions, kickbacks, discounts or credits;
  • rebates;
  • contractual rights or interests;
  • business, employment, or investment opportunities;
  • loans, payment of expenses, or donations. 

Corruption refers to the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. Corruption may be committed by public officials who abuse the authority of their public office for personal gain, which interferes with democracy and the rule of law. Corruption may also be committed by private individuals who abuse their positions for personal gain, which can hinder fair market operations and distort competition.

Facilitation payments are those made to a foreign official to expedite or secure routine government action. Corruption, bribery, and other fraudulent activities undermine public trust in political and economic institutions and leaders, threatens economic and social development, hurts fair trade, and exposes organizations and their employees to legal, financial, and reputational risks. As per the UK Bribery Act 2010, to bribe a public official is a crime. Bribery cases may involve Foreign Public Officials or other influential government officers. 

The organization must be committed to preventing, deterring, and detecting fraud in all its forms, including bribery and corruption. Organizations are required to prohibit direct and indirect payments of anything of value to obtain or retain business or to secure any improper advantage to remain consistent with the aims of anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws, including the FCPA and the UK Bribery Act 2010.

What Is Bribery And Corruption?

Bribery of government officials is a significant corruption risk and is prohibited under most local laws of different jurisdictions. Under the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the term “government official” is very broadly construed. All interactions with government officials must comply with this policy, along with the organization’s code of conduct and all applicable laws, rules, and regulations. All such interactions must be adhered to the board and management’s commitment to comply with this policy and the highest ethical standards to conduct business honestly and legally. 

All employees and third parties should not create the appearance of impropriety regardless of whether there was any improper intent. The organization’s employees and management should ensure that gifts, hospitality, or entertainment are not provided to government officials; however, if required, then written pre-approval by the compliance officer or another appropriate representative shall be required in every instance when gifts, hospitality, travel, or entertainment is to be offered or extended to a government official.

Facilitation payments are a type of bribe made to a foreign official to expedite or secure routine government action. While in some countries, they are customary, in others, they are improper. Under the FCPA, it is a narrowly defined term that refers to certain small expediting, or “grease,” payments that, while not illegal, must be properly controlled and recorded on a company’s books. Facilitating payments are illegal under the laws of most countries around the world.

In keeping with this compliance policy with all applicable laws, the organization must not facilitate payments. If an employee receives a request for facilitating payment, the employee should decline to make it. It is not permissible to make such payments in the course of the employee’s work for the organization, even if that employee bears the cost of such payments personally and does not seek reimbursement.

Final Thoughts

Bribery and corruption are not only contrary to our company values; they are also illegal and can subject both the employee and the company to fines, penalties, including imprisonment, and reputational harm. Bribery is never tolerated at Principal. We will not seek to influence others, either directly or indirectly, by offering, paying, or receiving bribes or kickbacks, or by using any other method that is unethical, illegal, or detrimental to our reputation for honesty and integrity.

Employees and representatives of the Company are expected to turn down any opportunity that would jeopardize our ethical principles or reputation. While some laws only apply to bribes paid to government officials (both domestic and foreign), this Policy also applies to non-government business partners.