Developing States Should Demand that Firms Doing Business with Them Have an Anticorruption Compliance Program

In December 2008 the U.S. federal government instituted its Contractor Code of Business Ethics and Conduct program.  Since then, any firm awarded a contract of $5 million or more requiring at least 120 days to perform must establish within 90 days of the award an anticorruption compliance program that i) contains a written code of business ethics and conduct, ii) trains employees on ethics and compliance periodically, and iii) has an internal control system able to discover improper conduct.  The rules also require that the program be overseen by someone of “sufficiently high level [with] adequate resources to ensure [its] effectiveness.”  When a review found government agencies were not systematically checking their contractors for compliance, the regulations were amended to require the government employee responsible for contract execution to verify that the contractor had an anticorruption compliance program in place.

No developing state now imposes any similar requirement on those with which it contracts — at least according to interviews with development agency procurement staff and internet searches.  But there is no good reason why developing countries should not mandate such a program and good reasons why they should. Continue reading