COVID-19: Deloitte warns of potential spike in bribery, corruption

Deloitte warns of a potential spike in bribery and corruption across Asia Pacific in the wake of COVID-19.  Lee Kok Leong, executive editor, Maritime Fairtrade, reports

Deloitte, the professional services firm, warned that unique and intense commercial pressures from the COVID-19 outbreak have increased the bribery and corruption threat for companies, their workforces and executives.

“As markets reel from the impact of COVID-19, uncertainty and anxiety may well trigger an increase in risky behavior,” Oliver May, Forensic Director Deloitte said.  “As the threat to livelihoods accelerates, so do the vulnerabilities to dishonesty.  Fraudsters, cybercriminals, organized crime groups and corrupt individuals will test your organization’s commitment to integrity.  Employers need to support their people, organizations and the wider community by making sure they have anti-bribery policies and programs in place.

According to the Deloitte Bribery and Corruption Report 2020

  • One in 20 Australasian organizations have unclear approaches to bribery which do not specify ‘no tolerance’
  • Australasian organizations worry more about their people receiving, than paying bribes
  • Some significant growth in conflicts of interest over the past five years.

Chris Noble, Managing Partner Deloitte Forensic Asia Pacific said: “Across Australasia and the Asia Pacific region, I encourage business leaders to recognize this time as one where your ethics will be well and truly tested.  Clear, confident, unequivocal communication is so important to ensure the sustainability of your business and protect its reputation.  The decisions leaders make now will affect their organizations long after the crisis has passed.” 

May pointed out that: “Moving away from a ‘best guess’ estimate to carefully examining operations and shoring up the gaps are important.  More informed due diligence assisted by new data analytics technologies will help organizations be more confident as they navigate their supply chains and markets. Some of the survey findings do give us cause for concern.”

Culture is king, but few companies are adequately investing.  While most respondents see culture as their primary focus over the next two years, only 27% reported a clear investment in anti- bribery and corruption cultures.

Most respondents to the Deloitte survey were from Australia and New Zealand, with many of their organizations operating supply chains and markets across the Asia Pacific region. 

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