Thought of the day: Cost of compliance is relative

As former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty has been quoted as saying at a 2009 FCPA conference:

“If you think compliance is expensive, try non-compliance.”

(Note: Mr. McNulty is not the first to use the juxtaposition of costs in this manner.  That honour goes to Derek Bok, also a lawyer and the 25th President of Harvard University, who is quoted as having coined the phrase: “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.“)

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“I will be disbarred” — Final bit of Nigeria gas bribery scheme blows up

Natural gas bribery scheme leads to attorney disbarment: FCPA forfeiture of $148+m, 2 years prison, disbarment

After being sentenced by a Texas court to 21 months for Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations committed during his tenure as KBR Inc.’s attorney, 65-year old Jeffrey Tesler, prone to wearing hats, has now been disbarred by a Disciplinary Tribunal of the Solicitors Regulation Authority for the same conduct: fronting illegal payments on behalf of a consortium of international construction firms in order to obtain approx. $6bn worth of construction work at the Bonny Island gas facility – one of the largest civil construction projects worldwide in 1993.

Bonny Island facilities, Nigeria

“I will be disbarred”

British-Israeli (now former) solicitor Tesler, “who operated from run-down offices in Tottenham, north London, admitted that he acted as a middleman for the consortium and routed the payments through bank accounts in Monaco and Switzerland between 1994 and 2004,” according to reports.  “US prosecutors discovered that Tesler arranged for $1m in $100 notes to be loaded into a pilot’s briefcase and then passed on to a politician’s hotel room to finance a political party in Nigeria.”  (See U.S. v. Tesler et al., case number 4:09-cr-00098, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas).  At his sentencing hearing before a Texas judge, Tesler predicted his own professional fate by saying, “… I will be disbarred.”

Anti-Corruption Enforcers from Commonwealth Countries to Meet in Africa

International agency cooperation at heart of 4th Commonwealth Africa Regional Meeting for Heads of Anti-Corruption Agencies (May 26 – 30)

The theme of this year’s conference will be one of international cooperation – a trend we see globally as practitioners: enforcement agencies are able to increase exponentially their success rate in uncovering and prosecuting bribery, corruption and public fraud by closely cooperating with their international sister authorities.

The event’s title is therefore aptly (if blandly) put: “Coordinating National Anti-Corruption Agenda within Commonwealth Cooperation.”  The event will be hosted by the Ghanaian government and organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat.  (Last year’s conference, held in Mauritius, was more intriguingly entitled: “Fighting corruption without fear and favour”).  The event has been described as “peer-to-peer” / “south-south” and is designed to strengthen the network of heads of regional anti-corruption enforcers.

According to a Ghanaian government report, the country’s Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) issued a statement, saying that combating corruption has been identified by the Commonwealth Secretariat as crucial to its work: “To this end, Commonwealth Secretariat has established the Network of Anti-Corruption Agencies (ACAs) in Commonwealth Africa to enable South-South collaboration and learning,” and a Commonwealth Africa Anti-Corruption Centre has been established in Botswana to aid in coordinating the Commonwealth-African agencies’ team work in the future.

Criticism

The CHRAJ, based on a provision in the 1992 Constitution, has not been without its critics., who have emphasised that the solution to corruption in African countries “lies in not the establishment of more structures to fight corruption but the reorganisation of existing ones to strengthen and improve their efficacy.”

The conference may accomplish just that, notably by strengthening international cooperation in the region.  Such information-sharing coordination not only enhances agency skills, investigatory readiness, and network effects, but may also have as a positive side effect an improved checks-and-balances system that would otherwise lack if each authority operated without a close watch by sister agencies vis-a-vis each other.

Seminar on public tenders in S. Africa now ongoing: Hyatt Johannesburg

Nortons Inc. is hosting a seminar on all aspects surrounding public tenders.  More at https://twitter.com/NortonsInc and below:

PUBLIC PROCUREMENT AND TENDER AWARDS: UNLAWFUL AND ILLEGAL PRACTICES ASSOCIATED WITH TENDER PROCESSES

09 MAY 2014

Hyatt Regency Johannesburg
191 Oxford Road, Rosebank, Johannesburg

SPEAKERS AND PANEL MEMBERS:

Neren Rau (CEO – SACCI)
Advocate Glynnis Breytenbach (Former Senior Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions in the Pretoria Regional Office for the Specialised Commercial Crime Unit)
Kenneth Brown (Chief Procurement Officer – National Treasury)
Steven Budlender (Advocate of the High Court)
Andreas Coutsoudis (Advocate of the High Court)
Luke Kelly (Advocate of the High Court)
David Lewis (CEO – Corruption Watch)
Mike Hellens SC (Advocate of the High Court)
Vincent Maleka SC (Advocate of the High Court)
Gilbert Marcus SC (Advocate of the High Court)
Anthony Norton (Director – Nortons Inc.)
John Oxenham (Director – Nortons Inc.)
Anton Roets (Director – Nortons Inc.)
David Unterhalter SC (Advocate of the High Court)

TO REGISTER: Contact Carina Basson at 011 666 7567 or carina@nortonsinc.com by 02 May 2014.

Sponsor

PUBLIC PROCUREMENT AND TENDER AWARDS: UNLAWFUL AND ILLEGAL PRACTICES ASSOCIATED WITH TENDER PROCESSES PROGRAMME

Download the Programme PDF here.

Exploring overlap of anti-corruption & competition laws

ICC FraudNet Spring 2014 conference

AAF & AAT editor John Oxenham of Nortons Inc. was an invited speaker on current trends in African anti-corruption and anti-fraud enforcement. See more details on the conference and FraudNet here.

The emerging overlap of antitrust and anti-corruption issues – including significant efficiencies from combining preemptive internal audits as well as corporate compliance programmes in these two respects – presents a natural synergy for legal departments, allowing them to economise outside-counsel spend whilst at the same time enhance the rigour and comprehensiveness of their compliance and audit programmes.

Please contact the authors for more information on the services we can provide in Africa, the U.S., in Europe and Asia.

John Oxenham, editor

East Africa: “Rampant corruption” hinders economic development

Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) Chairman warns of injury to economic development, emphasises importance of single standard

Dr Reginald Mengi, Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) Chairman (source: IPP Media)

In a report by Charles Ngereza, the head of the 231-member strong TPSF was quoted as highlighting the importance of ensuring that a single standard must govern corrupt conduct by both domestic and foreign entities and individuals.  Speaking on the occasion of “European Union Week” at the East African Community Headquarters, he said:

“We hear Africans are corrupt but the question remains, what about international companies which give bribes so as to be favoured in investment projects on the continent? They too should be punished.  Double standards mustn’t be allowed to dominate this matter.”

The Chairman of the 190-member strong East African Business Council (EABC), Felix Mosha, was quoted as optimistically highlighting the EAC’s overall growth-rate increase from 14% to 23% year-over-year, thanks in part to easier border crossings and business infrastructure improvements.

Along the lines of our sister site, AfricanAntitrust.com‘s post from today (“Investment in Africa: Changing landscape, new hurdles”), the article emphasises the potential long-term detrimental effect on economic growth of allowing corrupt business practices to continue.  Anti-corruption measures must be instituted and implemented at an international level “through imposition of sanctions on all international companies found guilty of the practice and manipulation of African leaders in their companies’ interests.”