The Man From FCPA is old school in news consumption, reading four newspapers in good old fashioned print editions, daily. It is equally important for any chief compliance officer to keep up with daily events, to inform your company’s compliance program. Recall when the New York Times broke the story of allegations of corruption by Walmart’s Mexico subsidiary; what do you think other international retailers were doing over the next week? Hopefully, they were reviewing their compliance controls to see if they had any similar problems.
While perhaps not as dramatic as the Walmart story, one which may have a more lasting impact has been playing out in South Africa over the past few weeks and months. It is the institutional corruption now endemic in South Africa under the current president, Jacob Zuma and the Gupta family. They have essentially engaged in state capture of not only the government but also the state-owned enterprises from electricity to transportation to infrastructure ton line their own pockets. KPMG, SAP and McKinsey have all come under allegations of compliance issues for their work in South Africa and entities controlled by the Guptas over the past couple of months. Even former Attorney General Eric Holder has noted it would not be surprising if the Justice Department has initiated FCPA investigations into companies doing business in South Africa.
Recently there was another newsworthy item that every CCO who does business in South Africa should note. At the African National Congress meeting to select the leader of the party and nominee for the country’s next presidential election, the ANC chose the reform candidate, Cyril Ramaphosa over the ex-wife of the current president, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. If Dlamini-Zuma had been nominated, not only would the corruption probably continued unabated, there would be little to no chance of prosecution of the current administration for graft.
All of this means, there may well be multiple and multinational corruption investigations both inside and outside of South Africa. If your company has done business with the South African government or any state-owned enterprises, the time to start reviewing your compliance risks are now, not later. And read the newspapers.