Disclose and remediate incidents

Protect your business, comply with laws and effectively address bribery and corruption.

This collection of resources proposes steps to take when instances of bribery or corruption occur, or when there are near misses. Develop your business’ understanding of what has occurred and promote a culture of action, self-reporting, remedy and organisational learning. 

Resources for addressing bribery

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Company directors and senior managers who are put on notice of possible bribery and corruption issues have a positive duty to make appropriate inquiries. Failure to do so can lead to civil, or even criminal penalties and being banned from managing corporations. This case establishes the duty of officers to investigate when corruption concerns are aired.

Suspected bribery of foreign public officials can be reported to the Australian Federal Police (AFP). This fact sheet tells you how. Companies that discover foreign bribery and do not report to the AFP may face increased liability for maintaining a corporate culture that tolerates bribery. Companies that report their own conduct can receive discounted penalties (and may not be prosecuted at all).

Part of a comprehensive toolbox on human rights duties developed for the Federal Institute of Sustainable Development (Belgium), this resource offers an accessible introduction to operational-level grievance mechanisms. Learn how such mechanisms can support your business to identify potential human rights risks and impacts stemming from your business operations. This resource includes extensive links to useful grievance frameworks and mechanisms. Published in English, French and Dutch.

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This easy to read resource explains the importance of operational-level grievance mechanisms for businesses and offers good practice guidance on effective grievance management. While specific to the mining and metals sector, this guidance is applicable to other sectors. The use of case studies, a glossary and infographics makes this resource an excellent entry point to learning about effective operational-level grievance mechanisms.

This practical guide offers support to businesses in the resource development industry to design and implement site-level grievance mechanisms. It includes solutions to common challenges, including, building community awareness of and trust in site-level grievance mechanisms, creating organisational buy-in to make these mechanisms effective, and growing an internal culture to support the resolution of grievances.

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A useful and simply laid out tool that offers suppliers guidance on developing a site-based grievance mechanism for their workers. This resource applies the United Nations Guiding Principles effectiveness criteria for grievance mechanisms to clearly illustrate good practice in implementing such mechanisms, that align with universally accepted standards. Although tailored to the retail industry, this resource is useful for other sectors with complex supply chains.

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In 2011, two subsidiaries of the Reserve Bank of Australia plead guilty to charges of bribing foreign officials in relation to a Malaysian bank during the period of 1999-2004 and were fined over A$22 million. Four employees, including the CEO and CFO of Securency, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to bribe and/or false accounting, each receiving between 6-24 months imprisonment.

In 2019 the Serious Fraud Office in the United Kingdom (UK) entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with a small UK resources sector company concerning bribery in South Korea. The company was required to disgorge its profits from the bribery but did not receive a penalty because of its small size and the fact that it had thoroughly investigated and self-reported the issues.

In January 2020, Airbus entered into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) which included a fine of €991m in the United Kingdom (UK), as part of a total €3.6bn settlement across France, the UK and the United States for five counts of failure to prevent bribery. The conduct took place across Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan and Ghana between 2011 and 2015.

The United States (US) Department of Justice has an extensive track record of enforcing foreign bribery matters, including against companies that are not registered in the US. This site shows the Department of Justice's foreign bribery enforcement track record.

Foreign bribery is a serious offence attracting significant penalties. Under section 70.2 of the Criminal Code, individuals face a fine of up to AUD$2.2 million and 10 years imprisonment for the bribery of foreign public officials. Companies face even larger fines including up to 10% of their annual turnover. There are also offences for related misconduct, such as false accounting and money laundering.

The United States (US) Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) is the regulator for companies that are listed in, or raise capital in, the US. It frequently brings enforcement action against companies for 'books and records' offences related to foreign bribery.

Australia’s powerful confiscation laws ensure there can be no profit in bribery. Under the Proceeds of Crime Act, law enforcement agencies are equipped with a range of powers to trace, restrain and confiscate proceeds of crime against Commonwealth laws such as foreign bribery. Any asset can potentially be subject to confiscation if it is the ‘proceeds' or an 'instrument' of a Commonwealth offence.

Liability for bribery and corruption can arise under multiple jurisdictions both inside and outside Australia. In Australia, individuals and corporations can be liable for a range of state and territory offences including offences that apply to conduct in the private sector. For example, section 249B of the NSW Crimes Act contains offences for corrupt commissions or rewards.

Liability for bribery and corruption can arise under multiple jurisdictions both inside and outside Australia. In Australia, individuals and corporations can be liable for a range of state and territory offences including offences that apply to conduct in the private sector. For example, sections 356 and 357 of the ACT Criminal Code contain offences for bribery and corrupting benefits.