In the month of June 2018, I am honoured to share about the latest updates on ISO 37001:2016 Anti-bribery Management System not only at the 11th. Anti-Corruption Compliance China Summit 2018 in Beijing, China but also at the 6th Anti-Corruption Compliance Asia Pacific Summit 2018 in Singapore. This is the platform not only to discuss the latest anti-corruption compliance strategies and best practices but also to strengthen engagement, communications and learning about recent case studies and how to deal with crisis management from the different industry experts and specialists. What’s the most interesting take away and lesson learnt from the China Summit is that with her amended Anti-Unfair Competition Law (AUCL) of the P.R. China in November 2017, the compliance officers are, indeed, staying from gifts and entertainment. At this China Summit itself, there is no rush for door gifts such as ear-phone, multi-plug adaptor, memo note pad, and pen, which are make easily available for all speakers and participants. At the end of the summit, the organiser has to put a notice that these door gifts are free – please take one!
I guess there is a new mindset for these Chinese compliance officers. One of them shared at this China Summit that seven years ago, when she was asked about her profession, her university mates and friends would just simply acknowledge it and walked away. Today, when she introduced herself again as a compliance director, many heads turn and beginning to ask her more about her roles, responsibilities and authorities and how to address compliance especially under Article 7 (1) of AUCL : Business operators shall not resort to bribery, by offering money or goods or by any other means, to any of the following entities or individuals, in order to seek a transaction opportunity or competitive advantage; Article 7 (4) : The bribery committed by an employee of a business operator shall be deemed as the practice by the business operator itself, unless otherwise proven by the business operator with evidence that such bribery is not related to efforts of seeking a transaction opportunity or competitive advantage for the business operator and the new definition of commercial bribery!
By the way, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (Amendment) Bill 2018 which was presented in the first Meeting of the sixth Session of thirteen Parliament sitting on 26 March, 2018 and passed on 4 April, 2018. This Bill received the Royal Assent on 27 April, 2018 and was gazetted on 4 May, 2018. Beside other minor amendments, the main thrust of this MACC (Amendment) Act 2018 (Act A1567) is to introduce Section 17A into MACC Act. The Section 17A, “Offence by Commercial Organization”, states that commercial organization commits an offence if any person associated with that commercial organization commits a corrupt or bribery act in order to obtain or retain business or advantage for the organization. When this corporate offence is committed by a commercial organization, the director, controller, officer, partner or member of management is liable to a maximum fine of 10 times the sum of gratification or RM1 million, whichever is higher, a maximum jail term of 20 years, or to both. I have been told by a senior MACC officer that commercial organizations in Malaysia have two (2) years to seek compliance to this new amendment Section 17A of MACC Act 2018. Be prepared, good old Boy Scout!
So, what’s new at the Singapore Summit? Well, the Singapore’s Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CIPB), our MACC counterpart, is very much active and has expansive legal framework to fight corruption and adopt a “No Tolerance” approach to corruption. CIPB has increased focus on money laundering offences following 1MDB scandal and Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) Report. The FATCA is an important effort to combat tax evasion by US persons holding accounts and other financial assets offshore. Under this FATCA, certain US taxpayers holding financial assets outside the United States must report those assets to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on Form 8938, Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets. There are serious penalties for not reporting these financial assets. Since the 1MDB scandal broke out in 2015, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) have imposed on eight banks in Singapore for various breaches of anti-money laundering regulations with some financial penalties of up to S$29 million. Two foreign banks have been shut down and prohibition orders have been slapped against four individuals. Some individuals who have also been charged and fined and/or jailed for their involvement.
Keppel Offshore & Marine, a state-owned Singapore-based company that operates shipyards and repairs and upgrades shipping vessels, and its U.S. subsidiary paid a total penalty of $422,216,980 after entered a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with US Department of Justice (DOJ). A DPA is a voluntary alternative in which a prosecutor agrees to grant amnesty in exchange for the corporate defendant agreeing to fulfil certain requirements. Keppel O&M, according to court documents released by the DOJ, engaged in a scheme between 2001 and 2014 to pay US$55 million in bribes to win 13 contracts with Petrobas and Sete Brasil – two Brazilian oil companies deeply mired in the country’s wide-ranging Operation Car Wash graft scandal. Following Keppel’s scandal, there is an increased focus on extra-territorial reach of Singapore anti-bribery and corporate liability laws. The Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) regime has been introduced into Singapore’s Criminal Procedure Code and Evidence Act in February 2018.
Come Friday, 13th July 2018, whether it is a ‘unlucky’ day or not, I have the honour to share about latest updates on ISO 37001:2016 Anti-bribery Management System at the Regional Compliance and Ethics Conference in Singapore organised by a US non-profit member-based organization, Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics. Sharing my knowledge with others does not make me less important. As, Dalai Lama XIV say, “Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.” After all, knowledge increases by sharing but not by saving!