12 January 2011

Three issues reported this week indicate the pervasiveness of corruption. 

In the US, the Securities and Exchange Commission is proposing to structure regulations in a way which shields oil companies from actions brought by shareholders, if companies make false or misleading statements about illicit payments to foreign officials and their governments. 
Plans by the president of FIFA to set up a corruption committee, following allegations of “votes for sale” in the run up to allocation of the World Cup, have been upstaged.   A respected German lawyer has resigned from an ethics enforcement role with FIFA claiming “there is no interest in resolving, punishing and avoiding ethics violations against the rues of FIFA”. 
In Turkey, a corrupt network has been unwound.  Police have detained the country’s top customs official and dozens of others in a wide-ranging bribery and smuggling investigation. 
 Officials demanded payments before processing imports, the bribes were pooled and then distributed each week among customs officers, based on rank and seniority. Police said that more the $NZ 150m was involved.
In 2010 Turkey was placed 56th on the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, equal with Malaysia and Latvia.
These practices within government, the commercial sector and in the NGO sector illustrate why there is a need for all agencies to have comprehensive systems to promote trustworthy conduct.  
In New Zealand, the State Services Commission advocates the importance of “6 trust elements”:
    having standards, 
    promoting the standards, 
    integrating the standards into workplace processes, 
    managers modelling the standards, 
    staff knowing the consequences for breaching the standards, 
    agencies taking decisive action when breaches occur.