Enterprises should not, directly or indirectly, offer, promise, give, or demand a bribe or other undue advantage to obtain or retain business or other improper advantage. Enterprises should also resist the solicitation of bribes and extortion. In particular, enterprises should:
1. Not offer, promise or give undue pecuniary or other advantage to public officials or the employees of business partners. Likewise, enterprises should not request, agree to or accept undue pecuniary or other advantage from public officials or the employees of business partners. Enterprises should not use third parties such as agents and other intermediaries, consultants, representatives, distributors, consortia, contractors and suppliers and joint venture partners for channeling undue pecuniary or other advantages to public officials, or to employees of their business partners or to their relatives or business associates.
2. Develop and adopt adequate internal controls, ethics and compliance programmes or measures for preventing and detecting bribery, developed on the basis of a risk assessment addressing the individual circumstances of an enterprise, in particular the bribery risks facing the enterprise (such as its geographical and industrial sector of operation). These internal controls, ethics and compliance programmes or measures should include a system of financial and accounting procedures, including a system of internal controls, reasonably designed to ensure the maintenance of fair and accurate books, records, and accounts, to ensure that they cannot be used for the purpose of bribing or hiding bribery. Such individual circumstances and bribery risks should be regularly monitored and re-assessed as necessary to ensure the enterprise’s internal controls, ethics and compliance programme or measures are adapted and continue to be effective, and to mitigate the risk of enterprises becoming complicit in bribery, bribe solicitation and extortion.
3. Prohibit or discourage, in internal company controls, ethics and compliance programmes or measures, the use of small facilitation payments, which are generally illegal in the countries where they are made, and, when such payments are made, accurately record these in books and financial records.
4. Ensure, taking into account the particular bribery risks facing the enterprise, properly documented due diligence pertaining to the hiring, as well as the appropriate and regular oversight of agents, and that remuneration of agents is appropriate and for legitimate services only. Where relevant, a list of agents engaged in connection with transactions with public bodies and State-owned enterprises should be kept and made available to competent authorities, in accordance with applicable public disclosure requirements.
5. Enhance the transparency of their activities in the fight against bribery, bribe solicitation and extortion. Measures could include making public commitments against bribery, bribe solicitation and extortion, and disclosing the management systems and the internal controls, ethics and compliance programmes or measures adopted by enterprises in order to honour these commitments. Enterprises should also foster openness and dialogue with the public so as to promote its awareness of and cooperation with the fight against bribery, bribe solicitation and extortion.
6. Promote employee awareness of and compliance with company policies and internal controls, ethics and compliance programmes or measures against bribery, bribe solicitation and extortion through appropriate dissemination of such policies, programmes or measures and through training programmes and disciplinary procedures.
7. Not make illegal contributions to candidates for public office or to political parties or to other political organisations. Political contributions should fully comply with public disclosure requirements and should be reported to senior management.
Commentary on Combating Bribery, Bribe Solicitation and Extortion:
74. Bribery and corruption are damaging to democratic institutions and the governance of corporations. They discourage investment and distort international competitive conditions. In particular, the diversion of funds through corrupt practices undermines attempts by citizens to achieve higher levels of economic, social and environmental welfare, and it impedes efforts to reduce poverty. Enterprises have an important role to play in combating these practices.
75. Propriety, integrity and transparency in both the public and private domains are key concepts in the fight against bribery, bribe solicitation and extortion. The business community, non- governmental organisations, governments and inter-governmental organisations have all co-operated to strengthen public support for anticorruption measures and to enhance transparency and public awareness of the problems of corruption and bribery. The adoption of appropriate corporate governance practices is also an essential element in fostering a culture of ethics within enterprises.
76. The Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions (the Anti-Bribery Convention) entered into force on 15 February 1999. The Anti-Bribery Convention, along with the 2009 Recommendation for Further Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions (the 2009 Anti-Bribery Recommendation), the 2009 Recommendation on Tax Measures for Further Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions, and the 2006 Recommendation on Bribery and Officially Supported Export Credits, are the core OECD instruments which target the offering side of the bribery transaction. They aim to eliminate the “supply” of bribes to foreign public officials, with each country taking responsibility for the activities of its enterprises and what happens within its own jurisdiction.6 A programme of rigorous and systematic monitoring of countries’ implementation of the Anti-Bribery Convention has been established to promote the full implementation of these instruments.
77. The 2009 Anti-Bribery Recommendation recommends in particular that governments encourage their enterprises to develop and adopt adequate internal controls, ethics and compliance programmes or measures for the purpose of preventing and detecting foreign bribery, taking into account the Good Practice Guidance on Internal Controls, Ethics and Compliance, included as Annex II to the 2009 Anti-Bribery Recommendation. This Good Practice Guidance is addressed to enterprises as well as business organisations and professional associations, and highlights good practices for ensuring the effectiveness of their internal controls, ethics and compliance programmes or measures to prevent and detect foreign bribery.
78. Private sector and civil society initiatives also help enterprises to design and implement effective anti-bribery policies.
79. The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), which entered into force on 14 December 2005, sets out a broad range of standards, measures and rules to fight corruption. Under the UNCAC, States Parties are required to prohibit their officials from receiving bribes and their enterprises from bribing domestic public officials, as well as foreign public officials and officials of public international organisations, and to consider disallowing private to private bribery. The UNCAC and the Anti-Bribery Convention are mutually supporting and complementary.
80. To address the demand side of bribery, good governance practices are important elements to prevent enterprises from being asked to pay bribes. Enterprises can support collective action initiatives on resisting bribe solicitation and extortion. Both home and host governments should assist enterprises confronted with solicitation of bribes and with extortion. The Good Practice Guidance on Specific Articles of the Convention in Annex I of the 2009 Anti-Bribery Recommendation states that the Anti-Bribery Convention should be implemented in such a way that it does not provide a defence or exception where the foreign public official solicits a bribe. Furthermore, the UNCAC requires the criminalisation of bribe solicitation by domestic public officials.