CRI Group’s 3rd ABAC Summit 2019 Sets the Tone at the Top

CRI Group, a global leader in risk and compliance hosted the “3rd Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption Summit 2019” in association with ICCI, GPCCI, Bank Al Habib, Transparency International Pakistan, ACFE Corporate Alliance USA, ICA and Fraud Advisory Panel UK. The one-day event was held in Islamabad, Pakistan. marking a return to Pakistan for this annual event that debuted in Karachi in 2017 (last year’s ABAC Summit 2018 was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia).

The Summit embraced the theme of “Setting the Tone at the Top” for sharing invaluable expertise in due diligence, internal controls and compliance issues, along with showcasing the latest resources and solutions to detect and prevent bribery and corruption. The main aim of the event was to provide guidance and training that enables business sectors to fight malpractices and learn about the latest resources and solutions to detect and combat bribery and corruption within the organisation.

A large number of CEOs, CFOs, directors, compliance and legal officers, lawyers, and due diligence and risk management professionals from leading corporate entities who attended the ABAC Summit were there to gain invaluable expertise from distinguished expert speakers and share their knowledge with the participants.

Mr. Zafar I Anjum, CEO of CRI Group:

CRI Group founder and CEO Mr. Anjum provided the introductory welcome. During his speech, Mr. Anjum highlighted that “Systematic corruption continues to be a substantial obstacle in both the public and private sectors nowadays. Corruption is a cultural issue that will only change as future generations are made aware of the detrimental impact of corruption in our society. The most powerful tool an organization can use to demonstrate ‘adequate procedures’ as an effective bribery defense and deterrent is IS0 37001. ABAC Centre of Excellence works to educate, equip and support the world’s leading business organizations with the latest in best-practice due diligence processes and procedures, not only in Pakistan but around the globe”.

Mr. Drago Kos – Keynote Speaker, Chairman of Working Group on Bribery in International Business Transactions at Organization for Economic Co-operation & Development:

Mr. Drago Kos highlighted that “in 41 percent of cases, management-level employees paid or authorised the bribe, whereas the company CEO bribed in 12 percent of cases.” He also added that “organizations where leadership, management and workforce do not take corruption seriously will never be adequately protected from risk” Mr. Kos urged businesses to apply disciplinary procedures against breaching ethics and compliance programs and anti-corruption measures. CEOs and managers face increased pressure to prevent bribery and corruption and maintain compliance. They also “influence everything by their management style, and are role models for their employees”, therefore, setting an ethical “Tone at the Top” is hugely important.

Dr. KM Loi Vice-Chairman of ISO/PC 278 (ISO 37001:2016), Co-convenor of ISO/TC 309 WG2 (ISO 37001 Handbook)

Dr. KM Loi was part of a Project Committee which was responsible for the design and development of ISO 37001:2016 – Anti-Bribery Management System (ABMS) standard. Dr. Loi spoke in depth about the threat of bribery and corruption, and how a management system like ISO 37001:2016 can help an organisation remain better protected and in compliance. “Bribery is one of the greatest challenges to international development and poverty relief” Dr. Loi said.

“According to OECD, estimates show that the cost of corruption equals more than 5 percent of global GDP”, Dr. Loi said (this equates to US $2.6 trillion, according to the World Economic Forum), “with over US $1 trillion paid in bribes each year”, (according to the World Bank). “It is not only a question of ethics; we simply cannot afford such waste. This is money that could have been spent on improving life for millions if not billions of people”

Mr. Mian Muhammad Ateeq Sheikh – Senator:

Mr. Senator took a part in presenting his thoughts on bribery & corruption at the ABAC summit. He said, “bribery and corruption is eating away Pakistan’s foundation. Our country is unfortunately way down on the ladder on this account. Corporate Research and Investigations (CRI Group) is taking actual encouraging procedures to fight against bribery and corruption. The administration sector should come up with strong compliance and legitimate regulations and take apart in the fight against this white-collar crime”. He also addresses, “NAB plays a very important role in fighting against serious corporate crime. The present government should bring strong control in compliance management system, he also said “We can save the future of our generation by fighting the corrupt practices today”.

Mr. Irfan Naeem Mangi, Director General National Accountability Bureau (NAB):

The speaker presented the national efforts against corruption and an overview of NAB: “Rigorous imprisonment up to 14 years, imposition of fine not less than the illegal gain, immediately cease to hold public office, disqualified for 10 years from holding public office, no financial facility / loan allowed for 10 years” this is how sections 10, 11 and 15 of NAO 1999 deals with punishment of corruption and corrupt practices.”

Mr. Faisal Anwar, Independent Consultant/Adviser & Trainer:

Mr. Faisal Anwar discussed the role of ethics and compliance culture with focus on the banking sector of Pakistan. “A good culture is about more than ensuring good people don’t do bad things – it’s about enabling good people to do better things” (Alison Cottrell, CEO, Banking Standards Board, UK) – the quote illustrated anti-bribery and anti-corruption risk management strategy. “The strategy should consist of policies, risk assessments, remedial actions, training and communication, culture, controls and oversights, business parties and third-party monitoring”, Mr. Anwar suggests.

Mr. Uzair Ahmed Certification Manager at ABAC® Center of Excellence:

Mr Uzair presented the concept of ISO 37001 and the certification process overview. “The organisation can choose to implement this anti-bribery management system as a separate system, or as an integrated part of an overall compliance management system. The organisation can also choose to implement this anti-bribery management system in parallel with, or as part of, its other management systems, such as quality, environmental and information security”, Mr. Uzair explains.

Mr. Shauzab Ali, Commissioner Securities Exchange Commission of Pakistan-SECP (Specialized Companies Division, Securities Market Division, Anti-Money Laundering Department:

Mr. Ali discussed the issued Corporate Governance Frameworks issued by Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan. He also highlighted one of the main responsibilities, power and functions of the Board: “the Board shall also develop and implement a policy on “anti-corruption” to minimise actual or perceived corruption in the company. Development of whistle-blowing policy and protection mechanism” – Mr. Ali lists.

Mr. Azhar Zia Ur Rehman, Governance Consultant:

The speaker presented the practical road map for implementing the Anti-bribery Management System. “Set of interrelated or interacting elements of an organisation, establish anti-bribery policies and anti-bribery objectives and processes to achieve those anti-bribery objectives”. The detailed process was discussed which will ensure organisations for the successful ABMS implementation.

Benefits to Attendees

Apart from the speeches of the distinguished experts, the summit included highly informative work sessions, group discussions, Q&A periods and plenary sessions to address the many challenges being faced by the corporate world. A post-event survey of the attendees found that 82 percent face challenges raising awareness amongst employees about anti-bribery and anti-corruption measures. They are doing something to remedy that, however 88 percent said they are looking to implement ABMS certification and/or ABMS training at their organisations within the next six months.

Mr. Zafar Anjum thanked the government officials, speakers and participants of the event for taking corruption and bribery as a serious issue and joining hands with CRI Group to share knowledge and expertise. Mr. Anjum has dedicated over 30 years to the areas of fraud prevention, protective integrity, security and compliance. His expertise helps create secure networks across challenging global markets.

Attendees noted their overwhelming satisfaction with the event in the survey results, and CRI Group is already looking forward to hosting another successful ABAC Summit in 2020.

Download the speaker presentations here