Effective compliance monitoring and internal audit reviews should challenge not only whether processes to mitigate bribery and corruption have been followed but also the effectiveness of the processes themselves. Implementing and actively enforcing an effective compliance program are by nature difficult, especially before anti-bribery compliance has become fully part of the culture of an entity. But even after anti-bribery compliance becomes part of the fabric of an entity’s culture, issues can and will arise that will test even the most experienced compliance officials and experts.
A good test of whether a compliance program is effective and whether it is being actively enforced is not the absence of concerns as to possible problems. Quite the opposite is the case. An absence of problems or concerns is more often than not suggestive of an ineffective anti-bribery compliance program, especially for an entity engaged in parts of the world where the risk of corruption may be more pronounced.
An effective anti-bribery compliance program is more apt to surface possible problems. However, as an effective compliance program increasingly becomes a vital part of an entity’s culture, the incidence of serious problems or concerns coming to the fore should diminish. The critical difference is that an entity can address the problem in a timely and effective manner before it evolves into a much greater problem with enormous adverse consequences.