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What you can learn from Bernie Ecclestone's pending bribery trial

by , 17 January 2014
Bribery is rife in the workplace. At the moment, Bernie Ecclestone Formula One boss, is facing a trial relating to bribery allegations. In the meantime, make sure the same thing doesn't happen in your company. Here's how to ensure your employees aren't receiving bribes or even giving bribes.

According to The Guardian, The Munich state court says the 83-year-old Ecclestone is to be tried on charges of bribery. His charge: incitement to breach of trust connected to the alleged payment of a £33m bribe to a German banker, who is serving a jail sentence for receiving the money.

Prosecutors say the alleged bribe was offered to ensure Formula One was sold to a private equity group of Ecclestone's choice. Ecclestone has admitted to paying the banker, Gerhard Gribkowsky, but claims he was effectively the victim of blackmail.

Ecclestone's trial is set to start in April this year. He's since stepped down as the F1 director, pending the outcome of the trial.

This pending case has certainly cast the spotlight on bribery in the workplace. And it would be a big mistake if you simply ignored it and didn't address the issue of bribery in the workplace.

When it comes to bribery, prevention is better than cure. And it's all about establishing systems.

Here's how to ensure your employees aren't receiving bribes

You NEED to have a gifts and bribes policy. This'll help ensure your employees aren't acting fraudulently and accepting or giving gifts as bribes.

Your policy must include details on:

  • Fraud and corruption;
  • Gifts;
  • Bribes;
  • Conflicts of interest.

Your gifts and bribes policy must provide clarity on the following issues:

  • You need to clarify how you feel about staff receiving gifts and think about whether the gift giving is fair.
  • Make employees report the gifts they receive so you can monitor the appropriateness and frequency of the gifts. Gift registers are a good idea. Some policies require staff to declare gifts over a certain value, for example, R100.
  • Ensure your suppliers know your gift policy and are aware you encourage them to report any instances where an employee has attempted to request a bribe. Return any unsuitable gifts given to your employees.
  • Know your suppliers. Understand why your employee has decided to do business with a particular supplier. Investigate any possible personal relationship between them.

You need to be very clear on the issues and the consequences that'll follow if an employee's guilty of corruption.

Ecclestone's pending bribery trial highlights the prevalence of bribery in the workplace and the fact that no company is immune to it. So make sure you take steps to prevent bribery in your workplace.

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