Compliance And Ethnics: A Critical Role In Preventing And Detecting Corruption (II)
Obligations to the Employing Organisation
Compliance and Ethics Professionals, CEPs should serve their employing organisations with the highest sense of integrity, exercise unprejudiced and unbiased judgment on their behalf, and promote effective compliance and ethics programmes.
R2.1 CEPs should serve their employing organisations in a timely, competent and professional manner.
Commentary: CEPs are not expected to be experts in every field of knowledge that may contribute to an effective compliance and ethics programme. CEPs venturing into areas that require additional expertise shall obtain that expertise by additional education, training or through working with others with such expertise. CEPs shall have current and general knowledge of all relevant fields of knowledge that reasonably might be expected of a compliance and ethics professional, and shall take steps to ensure that they remain current by pursuing opportunities for continuing education and professional development.
R2.2 CEPs shall ensure to the best of their abilities that employing organisations comply with all relevant laws.
Commentary: While CEPs should exercise a leadership role in compliance assurance, all employees have the responsibility to ensure compliance.
R2.3 CEPs shall investigate with appropriate due diligence all issues, information, reports and/or conducts that relate to actual or suspected misconduct, whether past, current or prospective.
Commentary: In organisations where other professionals (such as the Legal Department) are responsible for investigation of suspected misconduct, CEPs satisfy this rule by reporting suspected misconduct to such professionals in accordance with established reporting procedures.
R2.4 CEPs shall keep senior management and the highest governing body informed of the status of the compliance and ethics programme, both as to the implementation of the programme and about areas of compliance risk.
Commentary: The CEP’s ethical duty under this rule complements the duty of senior management and the highest governing body to assure themselves “that information and reporting systems exist in the organisation that are reasonably designed to provide to senior management and to the board itself timely, accurate information sufficient to allow management and the board, each within its scope, to reach informed judgments concerning both the corporation’s compliance with law and its business performance.
R2.5 CEPs shall not aid or abet retaliation against any employee who reports actual, potential or suspected misconduct, and shall strive to implement procedures that ensure the protection from retaliation of any employee who reports actual, potential or suspected misconduct.
Commentary: CEPs should preserve to the best of their ability, consistent with other duties imposed on them by this Code of Ethics, the anonymity of reporting employees, if such employees request anonymity. Further, they shall conduct the investigation of any actual, potential or suspected misconduct with utmost discretion, being careful to protect the reputations and identities of those being investigated.
R2.6 CEPs shall carefully guard against disclosure of confidential information obtained in the course of their professional activities, recognising that under certain circumstances confidentiality must yield to other values or concerns, e.g., to stop an act which creates appreciable risk to health and safety, or to reveal a confidence when necessary to comply with a subpoena or other legal process.
Commentary: It is not necessary to reveal confidential information to comply with a subpoena or legal process if the communications are protected by a legally recognised privilege (e.g., attorney client privilege).
R2.7 CEPs shall take care to avoid any actual, potential or perceived conflicts between the interests of the employing organisation and either the CEP’s own interests or the interests of individuals or organisations outside the employing organisation with whom the CEP has a relationship. CEPs must disclose and ethically handle conflicts of interest and must remove signifi cant conflicts whenever possible. Conflicts of interest may create divided loyalties.
CEPs shall not permit loyalty to individuals in the employing organisation with whom they have developed a professional or a personal relationship to interfere with or supersede the duty of loyalty to the employing organisation and/or the superior responsibility of upholding the law, ethical business conduct and this Code of Ethics.
Commentary: If CEPs have any business association, direct or indirect financial interest, or other interest that could influence their judgment in connection with their performance as a professional, the CEPs shall fully disclose to their employing organizations the nature of the business association, financial interest, or other interest. If a report, investigation or inquiry into misconduct relates directly or indirectly to activity in which the CEP was involved in any manner, the CEP must disclose in writing the precise nature of that involvement to the senior management of the employing organisation before responding to a report or beginning an investigation or inquiry into such matter, and must recuse him or herself from such investigation or inquiry, if appropriate.
Despite this requirement, such involvement in a matter subject to a report, investigation or inquiry will not necessarily prejudice the CEP’s ability to fulfil his/her responsibilities in that regard.
R2.8 CEPs shall not mislead employing organisations about the results that can be achieved through the use of their services.
Commentary: CEPs should not create unreasonable expectations with respect to the impact or results of their services.
Sir Chukwu Jideani
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