British American Tobacco faces bribery investigation by SFO

Another company is in the crosshairs of the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO)British American Tobacco, also known as BAT, is under formal investigation due to suspicions that it bribed officials in east Africa. According to an article in the Financial Times, the bribes were meant to help the company circumvent anti-smoking laws.

Bribery is a worldwide problem that has come into greater view over the past 5-10 years. Legislation such as the UK Bribery Act and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) provide a framework for compliance among companies conducting business across international borders, but every day there is a new story in the media about corrupt business leaders or government officials engaging in illegal acts.

Which brings us to the BAT case, which appears to be looking for fire where there is plenty of smoke. As the FT article states:

“Paul Hopkins, who worked for BAT in Kenya for 13 years, told the BBC’s Panorama programme in late 2015 that he had paid bribes on behalf of the company to undermine anti-smoking laws and to gain share in the fast-growing African market.

“In December 2015, he handed a tranche of documents to the SFO allegedly implicating the company and local politicians in corruption.”

When it comes to bribery, cases such as the alleged BAT scenario are common. To that end, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) issued the ISO37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management System standard to help companies worldwide increase and measure their efforts against bribery and corruption. This new standard mirrors numerous steps contained in the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (DOJ and SEC) and Good Practice Guidance on Internal Controls, Ethics and Compliance (OECD), Anti-Corruption Ethics and Compliance Handbook for Business (OECD), UK Bribery Act 2010 and the British Ministry of Justice’s Adequate Procedures document.

CRI Group is proud to be registered as a foremost ISO37001:2016 Certification Body with the Dubai Accreditation Center (DAC) Government of Dubai, UAE, and has formally launched its ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management Systems certification program. ISO 37001:2016 certifies that your organization has implemented reasonable and proportionate measures to prevent bribery. These measures involve top-level leadership, training, bribery risk assessment, due diligence adequacy, financial and commercial controls, reporting, audit and investigation.

Through CRI Group’s 3PRM-Certified™, the ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management System Certification will help your company, organization or department to reduce risk of bribery and corruption by establishing, implementing, maintaining and improving your management system.

The 3PRM-Certified™ certification process for ISO 37001:2016 helps your company address bribery in all its forms, including:

  • In the public, private and not-for-profit sectors
  • By the organization
  • By the organization’s personnel acting on the organization’s behalf or for its benefit
  • By the organization’s business associates acting on the organization’s behalf or for its benefit
  • Of the organization
  • Of the organization’s personnel in relation to the organization’s activities
  • Of the organization’s business associates in relation to the organization’s activities
  • Direct and indirect bribery (e.g. a bribe offered or accepted through or by a third party)

ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management System certification is offered under CRI Group’s ABAC® Centre of Excellence, an independent certification body established for Anti-Bribery Management System, Compliance Management System and Risk Management System certification. The program will be tailored to your organization’s needs and requirements. So don’t delay – learn more about CRI Certification, and reduce your risk, today!