Transparency International’s recently released Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI 2021) is out. This year’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) reveals that corruption levels are at a standstill around the world. The CPI ranks 180 countries and territories around the world according to their perceived levels of corruption in the public sector. The results are given on a scale of 0 (very corrupt) to 100 (very clean). This year, the world average remains unchanged for the tenth consecutive year, at only 43 points out of a possible 100. Despite multiple commitments, 131 countries have made no significant progress against corruption over the past decade. Two-thirds of countries score below 50, indicating they have serious corruption problems, while 27 countries have their lowest score ever. This proves the need to implement stricter anti-corruption measures worldwide. In this article, we discuss solutions to fight corruption in these regions.

Trouble at the top, COVID-19 and human rights

The current business climate calls for a review and reassessment of your organization’s third-party relationships. The global pandemic is shaking economies around the world, disrupting supply chains, halting production, wreaking havoc on industrial sectors and shutting down businesses.

It is highly likely that at some point, organizations affiliated with external vendors will eventually have to deal with a number of operational disruptions resulting from a third-party related issue. And while the risks of partnering with strangers haven’t changed over time, the potential level of liability has gone up several notches.

International borders have been torn down. Technology has improved the way businesses communicate. Easy access to data and information allows the media to report economic news before a company can respond adequately. Therefore, markets react quickly to this 24/7 on-demand news cycle.

The result of this increased responsibility can be very problematic:

  • Business litigation has exploded.
  • Due to the fallout from the current global pandemic, corporate reputations are being negatively affected.
  • Risk management frameworks are continually evolving to adapt to changing business environments.
  • Board members are increasingly subject to scrutiny from outside critics.

What’s going on in the world?

At the CPI summit, countries in Western Europe and the European Union continue to struggle with transparency and accountability in their response to COVID-19, threatening the region’s own image. In parts of Asia-Pacific, the Americas, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, growing restrictions on accountability measures and basic civil liberties allow corruption to go unchecked . Even historically successful countries are showing signs of decline.

In the Middle East and North Africa, the interests of the powerful few continue to dominate the political and private sphere, and limitations on civil and political freedoms block any meaningful progress. In sub-Saharan Africa, armed conflicts, violent transitions of power and growing terrorist threats, combined with poor enforcement of anti-corruption commitments, deprive citizens of their basic rights and services. Download the 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index from Transparency International.

Last year, ABAC® Group (and parent brand CRI® Group) was featured in Financier Worldwide’s InDepth Feature: Anti-Money Laundering 2021 and shared their perspective on the unfortunate money laundering situation. money in this region: “With regard to money laundering, a recent report by the Carnegie Endowment revealed that there is a constant flow of illicit funds from corruption and crime flowing into the United Arab Emirates. This should be alarming to organizations and regulators. Malefactors are taking advantage of ‘free trade zones’ and often the money is funneled through real estate deals, especially in luxury properties in Dubai, for example. This could be facilitated by foreign gangsters, gold smugglers and even warlords.These are high profile criminal operations that can pose a risk to any legitimate organization operating. ant in the United Arab Emirates and the Middle East as a whole”. In this edition, CRI® Group CEO, Zafar Anjum, and ABAC® Program Manager, Huma Khalid, spoke about anti-money laundering solutions and the impact of financial crime on businesses, not just in the UAE, but globally: “Money laundering is still a gap in the world and organizations should not wait for government action to put in place their own anti-money laundering frameworks. Like many countries around the world, the UAE is experiencing an increase in fraud and financial crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Last year, TI Pakistan reported that “a total of 95 corrupt individuals have been convicted and fined Rs. the vigorous persuasion of the National Accountability Bureau, Rawalpindi”. The comment was made by NAB General Manager Irfan Naeem Mangi on Monday. These efforts, of course, play an important role in the fight against bribery and corruption, however, Pakistan is still in the headlines. Last year, Transparency International Pakistan found the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) prima facie implicated in violating procurement rules for IT solutions and causing losses of Rs 13.5 billion to the Treasury.

Asia-Pacific has a troubled record in preventing bribery and corruption, as well as enforcing compliance (read our article “South Asia grapples with anti-corruption compliance: an overview of anti-corruption, anti-corruption and ISO 37001 solutions in Malaysia and entire South Asia”) Recent cases and statistics show that the problem persists in most countries in the region. Government officials and private sector business leaders are struggling to adopt policies, control methods and best practices to help reduce bribery and corruption under their watch. High-profile cases such as the 1MDB scandal in Malaysia and, more recently, the alleged Meikarta Township case in Indonesia underscore this point. The investigations that have been triggered by these cases demonstrate, however, that regulators are seriously considering addressing the threat of bribery and corruption not just as a legal problem, but also as a societal one. In response, organizations that have committed to compliance are adopting ISO 37001 – Anti-Bribery Management Systems as a comprehensive approach to mitigating risk and demonstrating “adequate procedures” taken to prevent bribery and corruption. corruption.

The increased risk of fraud has pushed businesses to establish the right measures to prevent fraud and corruption from surfacing around the world. Following a targeted trajectory also ensures that fail-safe protections are in place, which will protect against scandal or negative publicity, while minimizing risk exposure. There is a fairly notable empirical increase in the frequency of companies doing due diligence to nip corruption in the bud. Although audits can vary in nature, the application of internal controls through the implementation of ISO policies can bring about a dramatic change in a company’s strategy.

Risk management is an essential part of minimizing costs that may arise in the long term due to losses and falling prey to fraudulent practices in the field of business. This can be implemented through a resilient management system that has been designed to specifically target all vulnerabilities and obstacles, the impact of which can often be greater than expected, shaking the business and causing damage that can lead lawsuits, unforeseen monetary and financial losses. and heavy fines imposed by regulatory authorities, from which the company may never recover.

What are the global solutions?

ISO has developed a standard – ISO 37001:2016 ABMS – to help organizations promote an ethical business culture. “Designed to help your organization implement an Anti-Bribery Management System (ABMS) and/or improve the controls you currently have. It helps reduce the risk of corruption [and corruption] occurring and can demonstrate to your stakeholders that you have implemented internationally recognized anti-corruption best practices [and anti-corruption] controls”.

This new standard reflects many of the steps contained in the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (DOJ and SEC) and the Internal Controls, Ethics, and Compliance (OECD) Good Practices Guide, the Ethics and Anti-Bribery Compliance for Business (OECD), UK Bribery Act. 2010 and the UK Department of Justice’s Proper Procedures document. The ISO 37001 ABMS standard is flexible and can be adapted to handle many types of corruption in addition to being suitable for any type of business locally or globally.

ISO 37001 certifies that your organization has put in place reasonable and proportionate measures to prevent corruption. These measures involve high-level leadership, training, corruption risk assessment, due diligence adequacy, financial and business controls, reporting, auditing and investigation.

Consider ISO 37001:2016 ABMS one of the invaluable tools in your third-party risk management strategy. Combined with due diligence, background checks, business intelligence and compliance solutions, ISO 37001 certification and training can improve your risk management process and help your business mitigate the risks associated with corporate memberships. third parties, protecting your organization from liability, brand damage, and business damage. Learn more about the 3PRM™ program as a flexible and responsive tool for the different risk areas most important to your business.