Compelling Business Principles


The development of the business principles is a first stage for developing and raising the standards of practice in countering bribery. The fair business principles provide a practical tool to which companies can look for a comprehensive reference to good practice to counter bribery. Business principles are becoming an essential tool in the future for businesses and the companies of today should encourage using them as a starting point for developing their own anti-bribery systems or as a benchmark.

I had heard and even observed how corrupt practices are carried out in businesses that add the extras to win export orders. For toting up luster to the evenings of the visiting business partners particularly from Gulf States, they fix up their visits to discotheques and nightspots. They also maintain luxury flats outfitted with floozy beauties for making the stay of the business guests a unique affair.

Unfortunately, such unethical practices have sneaked into the system via some (not all) businesses in different countries. That’s what I personally experienced when once as member of a foreign business team visiting an Asian country and staying at a luxury hotel, a businessman tried unethical tricks to win business contracts. He called from the lobby and told about the undeserved and undesired gift he brought for me.

Years ago in a domestic flight to the capital in a country in Asia a passenger seated next to me told that he was visiting the capital about a government tender. He was confident that he would win the contract. When I asked about the source of his confidence he pointed to two girls seated in the rear and said, “Those butterflies (exquisite women) will make it happen.”

Most of companies contribute to election campaigns of this candidate or that. Interestingly sometimes some companies sponsor candidates of two opposing political parties. The idea is to get unjustifiable favors after the horse wins.

There can be endless list of such companies, which are ready to do anything to get business favors.

It is no mystery that a lapse in business ethics or even the appearance of one can significantly harm the reputation and business of a company. Once a company is suspected, accused, or found guilty of corporate wrongdoing, it often becomes subject to the scrutiny of governmental agencies, the corporate community and the general public.

Private sector organizations must now take account of increasingly stringent domestic and international regulatory frameworks. There is growing corporate awareness of the risks posed by bribery, particularly in the light of scandals, and the public is expecting greater accountability and probity from the corporate sector.

Emphasis needs to be laid on business principles for enterprises to prohibit bribery in any form whether direct or indirect. They should also commit to implementation of programs for countering bribery. These principles are based on a commitment to fundamental values of integrity, transparency and accountability. Firms should aim to create and maintain a trust-based and inclusive internal culture in which bribery is not tolerated.

Thus an enterprise’s anti-bribery efforts including values, policies, processes, training and guidance will become tools of future corporate governance and risk management strategies for countering bribery and unethical practices.

As part of civil society, at macro level, Federation of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry should work out a framework reflecting size of the companies, business sectors, potential risks and locations of operations. This should, clearly and in reasonable detail, articulate values, policies and procedures for preventing bribery from occurring in all activities under their effective control.

Such programs should be consistent with all laws relevant to countering bribery in all the jurisdictions in which an enterprise operates, particularly laws that are directly relevant to specific business practices.

At micro level each enterprise should develop programs in consultation with its employees, trade unions or other employee representative bodies. It should ensure that it is informed of all matters material to the effective development of the program by communicating with relevant interested parties.

While developing its program for countering bribery, the companies should analyze which specific areas pose the greatest risks from bribery. The programs should address the most prevalent forms of bribery relevant to each firm but at a minimum should cover areas such as bribes, political contributions, facilitation payments, gifts, hospitality and expenses.

A company should prohibit the offer, gift, or acceptance of a bribe in any form, including kickbacks, on any portion of a contract payment, or the use of other routes or channels to provide improper benefits to customers, agents, contractors, suppliers or employees of any such party or government officials.

It should also prohibit an employee from arranging or accepting a bribe or kickback from customers, agents, contractors, suppliers, or employees of any such party or from government officials, for the employee’s benefit or that of the employee’s family, friends, associates or acquaintances.

The enterprise, its employees or agents should not make direct or indirect contributions to political parties, organizations or individuals engaged in politics, as a way of obtaining advantage in business transactions.

Each company should publicly disclose all its political contributions, charitable contributions and sponsorships. It should ensure that charitable contributions and sponsorships are not being used as a subterfuge for bribery.

The enterprise should prohibit the offer or receipt of gifts, hospitality or expenses whenever such arrangements could affect the outcome of business transactions and are not reasonable and bona fide expenditures.

The board of directors, CEOs and senior management should demonstrate visible and active commitment to the implementation of the business principles.

The business organizations should assert elimination of bribery; demonstrate their commitment to countering bribery; and make a positive contribution to improving business standards of integrity, transparency and accountability wherever they operate. Business principles are going to evolve reflection of changes in anti-bribery practice as well as the lessons learned from their use and application by business.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Public Servant – Types of Misconduct


A public servant will be guilty of misconduct if he:

  1. Is rude or offensive, or assaults or even threatens to assault or attempts to assault.
  2. Has disregard for the circumstances and concerns of the public in performing his official duties and in the making of decisions affecting them.
  3. Discriminates on account of race, gender, ethnic or social, religion, color, sex, age, disability, political persuasion, conscience, belief, culture or language.
  4. Uses his position in the public service to promote or to prejudice the interest of any political party.
  5. Conducts himself in a disgraceful, improper or unbecoming manner.
  6. Refuses to give basic information that is required by any citizen.
  7. Favors relatives and friends in work-related activities and abuses his authority or influences another employee, or is influenced to abuse his authority.
  8. Does not strive to achieve the objectives of his institution cost-effectively and in the public’s interest.
  9. Is not punctual in the execution of his duties and does not provide timely service.
  10. Does not execute his duties in a professional and competent manner.
  11. Is dishonest and not accountable in dealing with public funds and uses the public service’s property and other resources ineffectively, inefficiently, and for unauthorized official purposes.
  12. Does not promote sound, efficient, effective, transparent and accountable administration.
  13. In the course of his official duties, fails to report to the appropriate authorities, fraud, corruption, nepotism, misadministration and any other act which constitutes an offence, or which is prejudicial to the public interest.
  14. Does not give honest and impartial advice, based on all available relevant information.
  15. Does not honor the confidentiality of matters, documents and discussions, classified or implied as being confidential or secret.
  16. Does not dress and behave in a manner that enhances the reputation of the public service during official duties.
  17. Is negligent or indolent in the carrying out of his duties.
  18. Falsifies records or any other documentation.
  19. Is under the influence of an intoxication, illegal or habit forming drug including smoking whilst at work.
  20. Asks the citizens for a favor in return for some service or refuses to provide with a service unless he is paid a bribe.
  21. Uses or discloses any official information for personal gain or the gain of others.
  22. Undertakes paid work outside his official duties or uses office equipment for such work.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please contact Asif J. Mir.