An analysis by the National Audit Office indicates that a lot of state-owned companies don't deal with the prevention of corruption systematically. This above all points to deficiencies in the work of their supervisory boards, the office finds.
The analysis revealed that many of state-owned companies have not established the internal guidelines required for the prevention of corruption, and that the assessment of corruption risks and raising employees’ awareness should be given more attention. Most companies have not made it possible for employees to report suspicions of corruption anonymously or determined an action plan that would explain how to behave in such a situation, including informing law enforcement and the general public.
Also, a lot of the companies haven't established conditions for the giving and receiving of gifts. Still, they predominantly see measures against corruption as necessary, and ministries that manage corporations as well as public works are already applying best practices for the prevention of corruption.
As the Audit Office stated in a press release on Wednesday, the supervisory board of a company “is obliged to guarantee that functioning internal control, ethics and supervision measures are implemented,” requirements that the office found many internal assessments didn't consider when looking into the work of state companies' supervisory boards.
Less than half of all supervisory boards received regular overviews of the results of corruption risk assessments, and even fewer presented those results to the minister in charge of their area.
Corruption prevention wasn't systematic because the state had never developed a common policy in the matter, or agreed which authority should coordinate anti-corruption action, and in what manner. The Ministry of Finance as the developer of the state’s holding policy had started from the assumption that the Ministry of Justice was responsible for anti-corruption activities, which in turn focused mainly on the prevention of corruption among officials and less so on state-owned companies, at least until early this year, the Audit Office wrote in its press release.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications as well as the Ministry of Finance have provided the companies in their jurisdiction with guidelines for the prevention of corruption. The Ministry of Social Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of the Environment, and the Ministry of Rural Affairs have so far not made a comparable effort.
According to the Audit Office, ways to prevent corruption should be given more attention in the future. It was also necessary to agree who would coordinate anti-corruption activities centrally and assess the successes achieved, the office wrote.
In addition to the prevention of corruption among officials, more attention should also be given to the prevention of corruption in state-owned companies. It also needed to be acknowledged that in addition to the management board, the supervisory board of a state-owned company should also take on responsibility for the development and implementation of anti-corruption measures.
The manager of any such company needed to make sure that anti-corruption measures were developed and also implemented. Only then would the supervisory board have done its work with the expected diligence.
Editor: Dario Cavegn