There are many takeouts from Transparency International’s 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), released in February 2018. Not only does the report reveal last year’s rankings of the world’s most corrupt countries, it also gives a glimpse into countries that carry low corruption burdens – from which many lessons can be learned.
The CPI ranks 180 countries and territories on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be, based on sources including the views of business people and country experts. The index ranges from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).
This year, the average country score was 43 and more than two-thirds of countries scored below 50. Characteristics of countries such as New Zealand, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Switzerland, Singapore and Sweden, that rank high and carry low corruption burdens, offer useful lessons for low ranking countries. This includes free press, access to public sector budget information; high levels of integrity among people in power; and a judiciary that is objective and impartial.
South Africa dropped two points in the latest index to a rank of 71 out of 180 countries and a country score of 43.
Corruption Watch, in its latest report released this month, entitled The Time is Now, said it had received a record number of corruption tip-offs in 2017, when 5,334 complaints were lodged – 25% more than the previous year.
Organisations within both the private and public sector are accountable to the law of the land. Companies are now more aware of the financial and reputation implications of non-compliance, driving a culture of enhanced due diligence. Additionally, the right attitude, accountability and greater transparency in South Africa will lower rates of corruption.
To begin combatting corruption from the ground up, it is important to thoroughly understand the companies and individuals with whom the company interacts and/or does business and to ensure compliance in local and international legislation.
This can be achieved by:
- Having a better comprehension of the complex relationships and affiliations between companies and individuals or companies and other companies.
- Researching and staying up to date on key developments with respect to key clients, suppliers, contractors, or partners.
- Researching and vetting potential investment opportunities, partnerships, acquisitions,
or other strategic alliances.
- Ensuring the ongoing financial health of key suppliers, clients, or other entities the business relies upon
- Conducting ongoing screening and monitoring, particularly around high risk third-parties to ensure you are alerted to any changes as soon as they happen.
- Seeking information on potential business associates’ legal history, including local and international cases to determine how litigious an individual or company may be.
- Understanding that the onus to perform these procedures is on the institutions, not the criminals or the government.