Case studies

Some examples of dilemmas and situations that can pose a threat to legal business practices, connected to the FAQ.

Agents/intermediaries

Case
In a country far away from the mother company, there is a foreign subsidiary with non-compliant business conduct. Other Norwegian companies in the same country find it impossible to compete an equal terms. Provided there are no doubts of clear deviations from the corporate Code of Conduct– how should that be reported, to whom and when?

Respons
To be discussed with company management, or eventually notified through integrity channels or similar. This may also be reported directly to the local police, provided there is some hard evidence and/or documentation.

Background check/Due Diligence

Everybody knows through media that the company NN is temporary out of the local market due to corruption suspicions. In the case if they decide to come again to compete in offerings to the market, should NORWEP partners consider the opportunities to cooperate with them? And eventually recommend them as partners for Norwegian companies?

Response

They must document what they have done to prevent corruption again, including managerial and organizational measures. One way is to ask directly for information and documentation about their recent anticorruption measures.

Conflict of interest

A minister in a foreign country has his own private company, taking care of special services for the oil- and gas provider locally. He participates in awarding oil- and gas contracts, provided his company has a part in the local deliveries in the project. How to handle this?

Response
This is normally a clear and unacceptable conflict of interest situation. The problem is even worse if the ministers ownership is hidden. Then it is a question of thorough due diligence documentation. Sooner or later the conflict situation will be revealed.

Gifts, invitations and sponsorships

There are requests from a national oil and gas company for a newcomer/NORWEP partner to spend money on a booth or specified sponsorship in order to market the “market entrance”– how to handle this? The actual sum may vary between USD 5`-75`, with a frequency of several times a year from the same company – but may be paid from different sectors or officers.

Response
Paying more than 1`USD for a booth and/or sponsorship may be considered as an undue advantage to both a person and/or a company. It is important to clarify what the mutual rights and obligations are for such payments. If the actual payment may be for non-transparent purposes then it must clearly be avoided. All such contributions should be publically disclosed.

Facilitation payments

An international enterprise – P. International – was importing a rig into Saudi Arabia. The rig had experienced delays in transit and the local P. manager feared additional delays. In the contact with a customs officer – in order to avoid more delays – he paid to the customs officer 10.000`USD in cash – called freight forwarding services and was recorded in the P. books as this.

Response
Of course illegal, but it is not uncommon to pay something in order to avoid costly delays. But NORWEP Partners must be advised that even if this may be the local business culture, this will represent a severe violation of the bribery acts in every country. This may be even more severe if public officials are involved.

Whistleblowing

Several companies have established procedures for anonymous reporting regarding corruption, fraud or similar. But how to handle a serious corruption accusations about a person in the management in a company, when there are no documentation or other evidence – only rumours? The actual information is not to be neglected, and it may harm you or your company if you don`t move forward in some way with the accusations.

Response
This depends of course on the nature and severity of the rumours, but it may be an option to notify the company, eventually in an anonymous form. By that the actual company should conduct their own inquiries in order to verify or debunk the corruption rumours. Or if it is possibly to seek relevant information, maybe this should be done discretely. But these are always complicated considerations, and a good thing is often to seek advice from professionals if possible.