The New York times reports that Wal-Mart has broadened its inquiry into possible bribery activity to include operations in India, Brazil and China … in addition to its existing inquiry into what might have gone on in Mexico a few years back. Most of the concern centers on whether local Wal-Mart executives paid bribes to public officials and others to get approval (or fast approval) for new stores. There’s no public acknowledgement yet that anything happened, but if it did it would likely be a violation of the federal Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). That’s something you don’t want to have happen, so Wal-Mart’s internal inquiry (costing them millions, apparently) is meant not only to uncover issues and forestall future problems but also to appease regulators who may have to decide whether to seek prosecution and impose fines.
Bribery is a serious problem in business and supply chain operations. In some parts of the world, you have a hard time getting things done without paying someone off … or giving them a gift or employing one of their relatives, etc.. But someone has to take the lead here in stopping these practices, which create unfair advantage and undermine the “benefit-of-the-bargain” in business transactions. So, we’re paying more attention to bribery and the topic of corruption. What procedures do you have in place to ensure things are done fair and square?