via Code of ethics for eradicating corruption by Nyasha Chizu for NewsDay.co.zw September 16, 2013
Corruption is any action which involves inducement by means of improper “consideration”. It implies dishonesty in procurement and supply context.
Corruption is a serious problem when trading in many countries. Developed countries are generally viewed as a bribery-rare business environment, but it would be a mistake to imagine it is entirely absent.
Procurement professionals who sign to the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) code of conduct have a duty to the profession and to their employers to alert senior management and or elected officials of any corrupt activity.
Ethics are embraced at three levels, at national, institutional and individual.
Zimbabwe is developing its national code of conduct and the step is in the right direction, but not novel.
The United Kingdom have the Bribery Act of 2010, the United States of America has the foreign corrupt practices act of 1977 which extends governance to foreigners who might be involved in bribery practices.
The pieces of legislation act as a valve to minimise business bribery that increases business costs.
It also has potential to eat away at the internal probity of organisations that gives bribes.
The CIPS code of ethics demands that procurement professionals do not tolerate bribery or corruption of any form.
Bribery may be in the form of offering, promising, giving, authorisation or accepting of any undue financial or other advantage to, by or for any person associated with the procurement process, or for anyone else in order to obtain or retain a business or other improper advantage.
It must be noted that bribery is not limited to purchases processed for personal gain alone; bribes can be offered to delay or decline due procurement processes. Such extremes are economic sabotage if appropriate evidence is gathered. Bribery maybe also be in the form of kick backs of an agreed portion of payment of the contract that is paid to the employee of the purchasing organisation.
Extortion and solicitation are other forms of demanding bribes. Extortion implies use of some undue force in the process of demanding bribe while soliciting is more of a plea for payment for services rendered.
In extorting, there is a threat if the demands are not fulfilled and soliciting is more of begging as opposed to demanding. CIPS members are professionals expected to oppose any attempt for extortion or solicitation and are encouraged to report such attempts through available formal and informal reporting mechanisms.
Members of CIPS must guard against organisations that trade in influence by offering or soliciting for undue advantage in order to exert an improper, real or supposed influence.
Negative influence is also dangerous in business; suppliers may influence delay or total denial of a procurement process to deny competition against either the deserving supplier or employer directly or indirectly.
Laundering of proceeds of corrupt practices from criminal transactions is not commended by the code of ethics.
Nepotism, the use of authority or influence to show favour to relatives or friends without merit is forbidden.
In light of the above, membership of CIPS inevitably is a marketing tool for procurement job seekers given the level of comfort it provides to the employers given the non-availability of our national code of ethics.
lNyasha Chizu is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply writing in his personal capacity. Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com