Having clear, understandable and effective corporate rules is the best protection against possible risks
Since its independence, Kazakhstan has made significant progress in combatting corruption and bribery. However, corruption remains one of the biggest problems in Kazakhstan. While the legal requirements for explicit corruption crimes are fairly clear and understandable, the legal regulation of issues related to the possibilities and the limits of provision of gifts and other property benefits to public officials and employees of the quasi-public sector are not always clear. Some believe that the provision of small goods, gifts and benefits can be permissible due to the generally accepted standards of hospitality and sociocultural interaction in Kazakhstan. However, there is a very fine line between such customary norms and rules of conduct in business relations, which are subject to the requirements of anti-corruption legislation in Kazakhstan.
As part of the development of the anti-corruption legislation in Kazakhstan and the strengthening of anti-corruption measures, significant changes to some legislative acts on combating corruption have been made recently, including the new Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan On Combating Corruption, which came into force on 1 January 2016. The basic approaches and principles have remained the same, but some notable details of the regulation in some important matters have changed.
Experience shows that without proper, well-established corporate policies, the application of the anticorruption legislation in the daily life of company employees involves difficulties. In particular, the following matters require special attention:
- Providing public officials and employees of the quasi-public sector with gifts and other property benefits and advantages and their acceptance of same;
- Providing symbolic signs of attention in the form of small gifts subject to the specifics of the sociocultural interaction in Kazakhstan;
- Providing incentive payments;
- Sponsoring events organized by governmental bodies and organizations of the quasi-public sector;
- Inviting a public official or employee of the quasi-public sector to any event, trip, lunch, dinner or reception;
- Requiring the execution of commercial transactions with companies affiliated with government employees, employees of the quasi-public sector or their relatives.
Special attention must also be paid to the issues of interaction with persons carrying out managerial functions in commercial organizations (i.e., with the heads of commercial organizations).
According to the legislation, all organizations - public, quasi-public and private - are obliged to take certain measures to prevent and combat corruption. Such measures may include, inter alia, development and implementation of recommendations or rules conducive to ensuring bona fide operation of the organization.
Practice shows that no company can fully eliminate the risks associated with the application of the anti-corruption legislation in the interaction of its employees with public officials, employees of the quasi-public sector or persons exercising managerial functions in commercial companies, in the absence of elaborate recommendations or rules - a program of “compliance.”
In view of the above, and also in connection with the changes to the legislation, Dentons offers you services to develop practical guidelines/rules in the area of compliance with anti-corruption legislation, to be used as a “desktop reference” by all your employees.