Next April 21 the World Compliance Association will be holding the Online International Congress COVID-19 Compliance, with the participation of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Compliance specialists from six countries. Diego Cabezuela, its international chairman, speaks with Iberian Lawyer about the goals of the event
Which are the goals of the World Compliance Association with the initiative of this congress?
The emergency situations such as the one that we are living or, generally, those following any natural catastrophe, are accompanied by high risks of corruption, mainly due to the unavoidable mobilisation of a big amount of public resources or the granting of million-dollar contracts. This always represents a breeding ground for the appearance of corruption practices, in the form of deviation of funds, irregular contracting, etc. that is to say everything that both the companies and public administrations try to avoid through the technic and principles of compliance.
Which specific solutions does the Compliance bring to face the situation generated by the COVID-19?
Compliance is based on the control and monitoring of the legality of the decision-making processes and in the way that these decisions get implemented. It is also supported, and this is very important, in the internal whistleblowing and the immediate investigation of any hint of irregularity, to neutralise it. It is not a matter of looking for specific solutions for the pandemic; simply, in a situation like this, these control mechanisms need to be tight and remain alert.
Thus, in which transactions should the control be maximised?
Aside from the big contracts or aid distribution, where the figures are generally extremely high, there are a number of conducts much nearer to the citizens which may involve an inexcusable abuse of the population anxiety.
As it happens, those which may have taken place, if finally confirmed, related to collection or distribution of sanitary materials related to the fight against the pandemic (masks, breathing machines, etc.) or, likewise, the eventual agreement for the prices fixing of the funeral services companies, which are widely being commented these last days.
What should compliance officers do in this situation?
Maximise the surveillance, being alert to eventual internal whistleblowing and investigate (or order the investigation) of those which have prospects of being true (something which, by the way, is not that easy when most of them are working remotely).