By Liu Xiangwen, Monique Carrroll, Yang Jianyuan and Zhu Yuanyuan
Due to the sensitivity of commercial bribery, corporations can be reluctant to instigate internal anti-commercial bribery investigations as a check on the effectiveness of their compliance program. Often an internal investigation will only be commenced when a serious problem emerges in the internal management system, a judicial or governmental investigation is initiated or a complaint is received accusing the corporation of serious compliance issues. However, given the increasing global focus on anti-bribery and corruption compliance, the value of regular internal compliance investigations or ‘audits’ has increased. The objective of a compliance audit is to identify and deal with any problems or risk areas before they are obvious to third parties and escalate to the media’s attention. Where the audit uncovers a serious problem that must be reported to regulators, the company will be in a much better position to pro-actively manage the situation – hopefully with the result of minimizing any penalties imposed on the company.
Over the medium to long term, regular compliance audits will strengthen the compliance and risk awareness of both the company and its employees and therefore contribute to an enterprise culture of compliance. Such a culture would in turn contribute to the long-term and sustainable development of the company.
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