Air Cargo Newsdesk

FIVE ways to avoid air cargo corruption

FIVE ways to avoid air cargo corruption

LEGISLATORS are tightening their grip on widespread bribery and corruption in the air transport industry, writes Thelma Etim.

In a recent case, the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has successfully prosecuted four American businessmen and two Mexican government officials involved in a multi-million dollar bribery racket concerning the aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) sector.

To secure MRO contracts for their Brownsville-based company, the Texas-based businessmen admitted to paying more than US$2m in bribes. Mexican government officials pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, reveals an official DoJ statement.

After the convictions, Leslie Caldwell, assistant attorney general of the justice department’s criminal division, fired a warning shot across the bows of anybody conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: “The six convictions announced today [27 December 2016] demonstrate the department’s commitment to holding accountable those who further official corruption through bribery.”

For those air cargo and logistics business managers who think merely having an anti-corruption mission statement on their glossy company websites is sufficient to safeguard their staff from the tentacles of corruption, they may have a rude awakening in 2017.

Pleading ignorance of corrupt staff behaviour at the company headquarters – or at a subsidiary abroad – is no protection from prosecution.

Alexandra Wrage, president of Annapolis-based anti-corruption business association TRACE International, says there are five no-nonsense key actions that every company chief executive operating in these industries should waste no time in implementing:

1) Managers should ‘roll-out’ and enforce clear anti-bribery policies, avoiding legalistic language. “The policies should be supported by an emphatic and consistent message from the top,” says Wrage.

2) It is extremely important to offer engaging and relevant compliance training to employees and to refresh it overtime, she explains. “Employees should have a chance to ask questions about the training and to work through scenarios relevant to their responsibilities.”

3) Managers should also work to strengthen internal controls, conduct regular audits and reviews, and create visible incentives for compliant behaviour;

4) “It is crucial to have a compliance function with an assigned compliance officer who would be available to receive staff concerns or complaints, even if that role is part-time in smaller companies,” adds Wrage.

5) A secure and confidential hotline for sharing compliance concerns should also be available in companies with sufficient staff to support the investment.

Source: Trace International

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