Corruption in Singapore is under control. However, a clean system is not a natural state of affairs. Corruption comes from weakness of human nature – greed, temptation, the desire to amass wealth or to obtain business through unfair means. Even with harsh penalties, corruption cannot be eradicated completely.
Below are some measures businesses and organisations can adopt to help prevent corruption in the work-place.
Clear Business Processes
Having defined workflows, clear directives on financial approving authorities, and standard procurement instructions can help flag irregularities in a business or organisation. These processes should be reviewed on regular basis to ensure they are updated to the shifting business environment. Diligent record-keeping and regular audits are also good practices to deter corrupt activities.
Policy on Gifts and Entertainment
Gifts and entertainment are often offered in the legitimate course of business to promote good relations. However, if it is too frequent or lavish, or done with the deliberate intention to gain an unfair business advantage, such gifts and entertainment can be tantamount to corruption, regardless of whether the recipient is able to fulfil the request of the giver. The risk of corruption can be reduced by setting a policy on when gifts and entertainment may be given and accepted and what records need to be kept. Your business partners should be aware of your organisation’s gift and entertainment policy too.
Declaration of Conflict of Interest
Conflict of interest occur when a personal interest or relationships is placed before the business interest, and can lead to corrupt activities such as giving or accepting bribes. In order to safeguard the business interest, a declaration system that is applicable to all levels of employees may be instituted. The company may provide a declaration form for conflict of interest for employees, and then use the information to take the most appropriate course of action. This could include excluding the employee from engaging in the work or transferring the employee to another department or post.
Convenient Corruption Reporting System
The corruption reporting system is a key function to control corruption and bribery risks, and can comprise a whistle-blowing policy or feedback channel where staff can conveniently raise concerns and feel protected from being identified or retaliated against. One way to do this would be by allowing reports to be filed anonymously through a publicised email address or phone number.