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Does your company's gifts and bribes policy include these four criteria?

by , 15 April 2013
Do you allow your employees to accept gifts? Could these gifts be a bribe for your employees to use certain suppliers' products and services? Could your employees and your company be accused of corruption? Read on to discover why it's essential your company has a gifts and bribes policy and what you need to include in it.

A Johannesburg Water contractor will appear in the Johanneburg Magistrates Court this morning after being arrested on Friday for 'allegedly taking a bribe from a Hillbrow resident,' reports IOL.

According to Captain Paul Ramaloko of the Hawks, 'when the city cut the man's water and electricity at the Hays flats, the 34-year-old contractor offered to reconnect him for R2 500,' IOL's article continues.

This isn't an isolate event. Just open the newspaper and you'll see just how prevalent bribery is in the South African workplace actually is.

But here's what few employers don't realise: Turning a blind eye on employees who accept gifts and bribery is a criminal offense that could land you, their employee, in jail for up to ten years. This, as stipulated by South Africa's Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (PACCA).

To prevent corruption in the workplace, you must have a gifts and bribes policy

'The elimination of bribery and corruption is one of the most formidable challenges facing the private and public sectors,' reports mondaq.com.

'Alarmingly, many business executives still have the misperception that bribery and corruption don't impact on their organisations and that they don't need to concern themselves with managing this type of risk.'

But you do – and that's where a gifts and bribes policy comes in.

Stop bribery in your workplace! Make sure your gifts and bribes policy includes these four things

'For some the potential harm to an organisation's credibility is not worth the risk and they ban all gifts to employees, excluding personal gifts from friends and family. Other organisations accept gifts, but when received, donate them to a non-profit organisation,' explains accountacysa.org.za.

And that's exactly what your gifts and bribes policy needs to clarify. You'll also need to clarify how your employees must report on any gifts if you do let them accept these.

To protect your business, advised The Practical Guide to Human Resources Management, your policy must include details on what constitutes and how they need to handle:

1. Fraud and corruption;
2. Gifts;
3. Bribes;
4. Conflicts of interest.

And remember: 'Many clients require proof of a company's policies around the giving and receiving of gifts to ensure it has an ethical view in this regard. It isn't unusual for companies to have to supply this policy as part of their tendering procedure,' warns The Practical Guide to Human Resources Management.

So make sure you have a gifts and bribes policy in place so you'll be prepared when they ask, as well as protect your company from allegations of corruption.

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