Strong International Standards, Governance & Ethics Help Fight Bribery
IFAC President Addresses OECD Anti-Bribery Ministerial Meeting
At today’s OECD Anti-Bribery Ministerial Meeting, International Federation of Accountants President Olivia F. Kirtley, CPA, CGMA, highlighted an increasingly complex and interconnected world that requires strong collaboration and commitment from the private, public and regulatory communities to fight bribery and corruption.
Addressing justice ministers and representatives of more than 40 countries at this morning’s open session on Fighting Foreign Bribery in an Increasingly Complex World: Towards a New Era of Enforcement, Ms. Kirtley said:
“For decades, the global accountancy profession—including auditors, and professional accountants in business and government—have supported the fight against bribery. Transparency, accountability, and serving the public interest motivate our ongoing support for global reporting standards and ethical behavior. These standards underpin the profession’s role in detection of fraud, corruption and bribery—and strengthen organizations to assist in prevention.”
Ms. Kirtley called for re-energized collaboration and commitment to fighting foreign bribery and a commitment to addressing both the demand and supply side of fraud and corruption across all sectors.
“Transparent, consistent and robust anti-bribery and corruption measures must apply equally across both public and private sectors. Given the vast sums channeled through governments, effective public sector financial management is vital to a global solution. Citizens need both sectors to provide transparent disclosures, and implement effective internal controls that are critical to good governance, and to holding officials accountable,” she said.
Separately, Ms. Kirtley participated as a panelist alongside the New Zealand Justice Minister, Ms. Amy Adams, the Director of the UK Serious Fraud Office, Mr. David Green, CB, QC, and Ms. Elena Panfilova, Vice Chair of Transparency International. Moderated by the Slovenian Justice Minister, Mr. Goran Klemencic, the panel discussed New Frontiers in Detection: Empowering Whistleblowers and Facilitating Voluntary Disclosure.
Ms. Kirtley highlighted the urgent need for greater international collaboration on whistle-blower protection laws.
“Realizing the full potential of the profession’s ethical and public interest foundations—such as having accountants go above and beyond their expected duty to consider situations where whistle-blowing might be appropriate—depends on consistent, comprehensive protections and robust corporate governance,” she said.
“Bringing an end to the notion that ‘silence is always safer’ requires greater focus on strong governance and compliance structures, environments that are encouraging for self-reporting, and protections that apply to everyone working with any organization or for any profession. We must all seek to empower individuals to do the right thing.”
IFAC is the global organization for the accountancy profession, dedicated to serving the public interest by strengthening the profession and contributing to the development of strong international economies. It is comprised of more than 175 members and associates in 130 countries and jurisdictions, representing almost 3 million accountants in public practice, education, government service, industry, and commerce.