Standards Will Stem Corruption and Bribery in the System



A critical look at the description of bribery as given by the Director General (DG) of Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON)  Osita Aboloma indeed underscores the passion of President Muhammadu Buhari for the anti-corruption crusade.

Aboloma’s definition also explains why the regulatory agency considered it critical to support the campaign against corruption with a process tagged: Anti-bribery Management System Standards.

According to the DG: “Bribery is a widespread phenomenon that raises serious social, moral, economic and political concerns; undermines good governance; hinders development and distorts competition. It erodes justice, undermines human rights and is an obstacle to the relief of poverty. It also increases the cost of doing business, introduces uncertainties into commercial transactions, increases the cost of goods and services and diminishes the quality of products and services”.

The SON boss further described bribery as the single most contributory factor to corruption, stressing that it could lead to loss of lives and property, destruction of trust in institutions and interference with the fair and efficient operations of markets.

Clearly therefore, bribery-a child of corruption- is evil, and any good thing that could stem it is worthwhile. Hence, SON, Aboloma said, has decided to support federal government’s anti-corruption crusade with the adoption of the ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management System Standard for use in Nigeria.

Aboloma posited that the process was borne out of the desire to proffer solutions to the national discourse on corruption in Nigeria, leveraging on standardization tools. The Anti-Bribery standard alongside the Nigerian Industrial Standards on Good Governance (NIS 902:2017) can therefore be proactive tools to drastically reduce the incidence of corruption in the country alongside the anti-corruption laws, he said.

The latest effort, Aboloma emphasized, would reduce corruption to the barest minimum. Lamenting that fighting corruption in the country is herculean and seems to be an insurmountable task that most administrations seem not to have overcome the DG insisted that the two standards are proactive tools to drastically address corruption alongside the anti-corruption laws.

He added: “Since bribery and the way organizations are governed are the most contributory factors to corruption, therefore, these standards offer the country with an opportunity to use the global tools to support the fight against corruption.”

Aboloma disclosed that the standards could act as guides that can be installed in operational processes to enable organizations apply good governance principles in a structured manner so as to run efficiently and effectively.

In his words: “These standards can be applied to any organisation’s type or nature. They will assist you prevent bribery in your systems and minimize bribery lawsuit likelihood, mitigate possible lawsuit penalty through demonstrating an effective compliance programme, demonstrate to customers and stakeholders a robust anti-bribery management system, utilize a risk-based approach to manage bribery risk and to effectively allocate resources on high risk control and help you influence your business partners and suppliers to do the right thing to maintain your organizational reputation.”

According to him, the standards are auditable and can be certified and most international companies are being certified to these standards. Hence, he declared, Nigerian businesses need not to be disadvantaged in the global business environment.

The DG commended the national experts who, according to him, meticulously worked with the ISO Project Committee on Anti-bribery Management Systems (ISO/PC278) to elaborate and publish the ISO 37001:2016 on Anti-bribery Management System Standard.

According to him, the meeting which held in Nigeria recently, to consider the adoption of the international standard on Anti-bribery Management Systems requirements with guidance for use in Nigeria is a significant contribution to the current administration’s fight against corruption.

Aboloma described the timing of the meeting as apt, when according to him, President Muhammadu Buhari is the leading champion of the anti-corruption crusade in Africa.

He assured of the determination of his management to push for the promotion and use of the two standards by Government Ministries, Departments and agencies (MDAs) as well as business entities, as tools to fight and work towards the eradication of corruption in the country.

Meanwhile, SON Acting Director, Standards Development Mrs. Chinyere Egwuonwu, disclosed that the technical committee for good governance standard and the project committee for the anti-bribery standard have been merged to align with the ISO Technical Committee 309 on governance of organisations.

“The technical committee is expected to initiate national projects that will address Nigeria’s peculiar governance issues, work with the ISO TC 309 and submit Nigeria’s comments and inputs on current works of the Technical committee and working groups to the secretariat of the Technical Committee”, She disclosed.

Chairman of the Project Committee and former Governor of Edo State, Professor Oserheimen Osunbor expressed appreciation for the support of the Management of SON, just as he commended the national experts for their contributions to Nigeria’s participation in the development of the international standards.

According to him, Nigeria is ahead of the international community in the development of the Good Governance Standard, noting that work on the standard at ISO only commenced in November 2017.

Osunbor also emphasized: “while efforts are still in progress to develop and adopt a standard on good governance at ISO level, it is commendable that we already have one in place in Nigeria.      With the recent appointment of President Muhammadu Buhari by the African Union to provide leadership on anti-corruption and good governance on the continent, these two standards offer ready tools to realize this expectation