Supply Chain News / Risk & Compliance

Many Logistics Groups at Risk from Bribery Law

August 6, 2012
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Half of the world’s biggest logistics companies are putting themselves and customers at risk of prosecution under new UK bribery laws by failing to publish a complete draft of anti-corruption policies, according to Rose Jacobs of Investors Chronicle.

Research by GoodCorporation, a business ethics consultancy, has found that only two in three big logistics groups have publicly outlined their approach to fighting bribery and half have no statement on illegal “facilitation payments” used to speed deliveries through customs.

It warned that a significant number of logistics companies appear to have insufficient procedures in place to prevent corruption, which puts themselves and their clients at risk. A third have no published anti-corruption policy or statement and more than half make no statement at all regarding facilitation payments.

Guidance from the Ministry of Justice says: “Top level management commitment to bribery prevention is likely to include communication of the organization’s anti-corruption stance.”

The new bribery law makes it easier for prosecutors to bring charges, and demands that businesses be accountable for the activities of all third parties and intermediaries working on their behalf.

Directors of businesses that cannot demonstrate that they have “adequate procedures” to stamp out corruption, in their own organization and throughout their supply chain, may be liable to unlimited fines and up to ten years in jail.

Michael Littlechild of GoodCorporation said; “Logistics is one of the most exposed sectors to corrupt activities, with companies in this field often working in some of the world’s most ethically challenging environments.

“This is also of concern for global businesses, as most of them will use logistics companies for part of their operation. By failing to demonstrate clearly that proper measures are being taken to eradicate corruption, logistics companies are putting themselves and their clients, at risk.”

The impact of this is already apparent. In the United States, every prosecution in 2011 under the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act was related to the corrupt activities of third parties.

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