Held in a Serene atmosphere at the Wheatbaker, Ikoyi Lagos State, the Udo Udoma & Belo- Osagie 2018 Investigations, Compliance and Ethics (ICE) Academy brought together leading stakeholders to discuss the need for compliance and ethics which are critical in enabling business organizations to build and entrench goodwill and profitability and also about prevention of crisis or and efficient management of it.
The event which was helmed by a carefully selected cohort of regional and international experts in the field of Investigations, Compliance and Ethics including Alexander Booth, Associate Managing Director, Business Intelligence and Investigations at Kroll; Tim Newbold, Director, Africa Practice; Adesua Dozie, General Counsel, General Electric and several others.
Tim Newbold Regional director for West Africa at Africa Practice said success at mitigating key risks and preventing escalation into crises is dependent on firm’s ethical position, level of compliance with regulations and laws, corporate reputation and strength of relationship with key stakeholders.
While also advising firms on how to prevent crises situation from emerging Tim Newbold advised firms to build corporate communications and brand positioning strategy that delivers their desired corporate reputation.
“Build a stakeholder engagement strategy aligned to your key issues and risks which is also supportive of your desired corporate reputations; build a business continuity management plan,” Newbold explained at the event.
Adeola Sunmola partner at Udo Udoma and Bello-Osagie who gave tips on how to carry out effective internal investigation advised firms to select an investigation team comprising of either internal parties or extended to external parties which might include forensic and technology experts depending on the nature of the misconduct being investigated.
“Let Employees know that retaliation would be punished and could lead to termination of contract,” Sunmola explained at the event.
Sunmola noted that at the conclusion of an investigation a written report should be issued detailing the steps taken, information gathered, decisions that were made and any relevant actions taken.
Alexander Booth, Associate managing director, Business Intelligence and Investigations at Kroll said there is a current awareness of the impact of reputational damage on investors and multinational companies.
“Investors are aware of the need to defend their reputation as corporate are becoming wiser on the need to remain compliance focused,”
Adesua Dozie General Counsel at General Electric Africa said firms can never ignore reputational risk because firm’s reputation is their calling card and passport to doing business in the country as compliance is now commercial imperative.
“In terms mitigation against risk it depends on what the terms are or the deals in place, there are many deals structure you can put in place to avoid that however what is most important is knowing who your customer is or knowing the partners you deal with,” Dozie said.
Lola Cardoso Chief Digital and Innovation officer at Union Bank said Banks are required to follow the rule of compliance whether it’s in data or local entity not because they are financial institution but also for customers benefits both local or Diaspora for transparency benefits.
Bola Otunba, Director of Human Resources at Guinness Nigeria said at Guinness they try as much as possible to move away from localizing our ethics and compliance laws because we want to b e sure when we are looking across the whole story the story are the same.
“Across all organization when the tone from the top is right people who lead the organization live by the example it’s very easy to implement the whistle blowing policy which will go a long way in affecting the operations of the firm,”
Adedayo Gadebo, investigations lead, Africa Glaxosmithkline said knowing the culture of any country you are carrying out a cross border investigation on can either make or Mar the investigation.
Commenting on the Event, Richard Harney, the Managing Partner and co-founder of the Kenya office of leading African law firm, Bowmans, had this to say: “Africa has long been viewed as a continent where carrying out business is a challenge, partly due to inefficiency and corruption. In recent years, governments across Africa have introduced more and stronger governance rules for the public and the private sectors. This event is very relevant as it demonstrates how effective internal investigations enhance the continent’s rule of law and consequently increase its attractiveness as an investment destination.”