African busi­nesses lose out to cor­rupt com­peti­tors

Lesotho Times - - Business - Retha­bile Pitso

LERIBE — Letshego Financial So­lu­tions (LFS) yes­ter­day do­nated books, din­ing ta­bles and chairs to St Paul School for the Blind in Leribe.

The ges­ture was in re­sponse to a fire that gut­ted the school’s dor­mi­tory and de­stroyed mat­tresses, fur­ni­ture and a tele­vi­sion set among other valu­able goods.

Ac­cord­ing to the school’s Prin­ci­pal, Mpho Sefale, while no one was hurt dur­ing the in­ferno, a lot of in­fras­truc­ture was de­stroyed.

The han­dover cer­e­mony was at­tended by Queen ‘ Mase­n­ate Mo­hato Seeiso who was rep­re­sent­ing her char­ity Hlokomela Bana Foundation (HBF).

On be­half of LFS Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer ‘Malehlo­honolo Van Ton­der, the com­pany’s Chief Op­er­a­tions Of­fi­cer, Beauty Dipuo Mmolotsi, said they were com­mit­ted to ex­tend­ing a help­ing hand to vul­ner­a­ble groups in the com­mu­nity.

“Letshego Financial So­lu­tions is a financial ser­vices provider which cur­rently operates in nine African coun­tries with our head­quar­ters lo­cated in Botswana,” said Ms Mmolotsi.

“Our busi­ness here is not lim­ited to of­fer­ing Ba­sotho financial so­lu­tions since we have also made it a pri­or­ity to as­sist vul­ner­a­ble groups, such as chil­dren, in the com­mu­ni­ties that sup­port our busi­ness.”

She said the hu­man­i­tar­ian ini­tia­tives were not just con­fined to St Paul School for the Blind but would be ex­tend to other needy causes across the coun­try.

“Plans are al­ready in place to en­sure that our out­reach pro­grammes are not un­der­taken in one place but all the coun­try’s 10 dis­tricts,” Ms Mmolotsi noted.

“Our cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity ini­tia­tives have this year ben­e­fit­ted such places as the Re­source Cen­tre for the Blind in Maseru and Good Shep­herd Home for Teenage Moth­ers in Sehlabeng. We are com­mit­ted to ex­tend­ing a help­ing hand to needy causes around the coun­try.”

In her re­marks, Queen ‘Mase­n­ate Mo­hato lauded the ini­tia­tive by LFS, urg­ing other cor­po­rates to fol­low suit by as­sist­ing vul­ner­a­ble mem­bers of the com­mu­nity.

“I want to thank Letshego for be­ing an in­spi­ra­tion to the teach­ers of th­ese chil­dren who have ded­i­cated them­selves to en­hanc­ing ed­u­ca­tion in such dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances. I hope more cor­po­rates would also ex­tend a help­ing hand to as­sist the needy,” Her Majesty said.

“Since the HIV/AIDS preva­lence is high in the coun­try, we are faced with the im­mense chal­lenge of car­ing for chil­dren who are left be­hind in the event that their par­ents fall ill or die. Th­ese days, we wit­ness a lot of child-headed fam­i­lies.”

Queen ‘Mase­n­ate Mo­hato Seeiso said she was elated when LFS ap­proached HBF seek­ing a part­ner- BER­LIN — Cor­rup­tion re­mains a ma­jor cost for hon­est com­pa­nies in Africa with 34 per­cent of busi­nesses re­ported to be los­ing out on deals to cor­rupt com­peti­tors, a new study has re­vealed.

Con­trol Risks Group Hold­ings Lim­ited, a global risk con­sul­tancy spe­cial­is­ing in po­lit­i­cal, se­cu­rity and in­tegrity risk, made the rev­e­la­tion in Ber­lin, Ger­many Tues­day while re­leas­ing find­ings of their sur­vey of busi­ness at­ti­tudes to cor­rup­tion.

The sur­vey dubbed: ‘The Cor­rup­tion Sur­vey 2015/16’, was done with 824 com­pa­nies in Africa and other coun­tries world­wide, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from Con­trol Risks.

“Some 34 per­cent of re­spon­dents from Africa re­ported los­ing out on deals to cor­rupt com­peti­tors. Cor­rup­tion risks con­tinue to de­ter in­vestors. 30 per­cent say they have de­cided not to con­duct busi­ness in spe­cific coun­tries be­cause of the per­ceived risk of cor­rup­tion,” re­vealed the study.

A to­tal of 41 per­cent of global re­spon­dents re­ported that the risk of cor­rup­tion was the pri­mary rea­son they pulled out of a deal on which they had al­ready spent time and money — even 55 per­cent of African re­spon­dents.

But com­pa­nies from coun­tries with tight en­force­ment re­ported fewer losses than be­fore from cor­rupt com­peti­tors. ship in the ini­tia­tive.

“We are happy for the joint ven­ture which aims to im­prove the liveli­hoods of chil­dren and en­sur-

In 2006, 44 per­cent of US com­pa­nies said they had lost out to cor­rupt com­peti­tors, com­pared with only 24 per­cent in 2015. Th­ese fig­ures are echoed for Ger­many and the UK.

A to­tal of 81 per­cent of re­spon­dents agreed that in­ter­na­tional anti-cor­rup­tion laws “im­prove the busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment for ev­ery­one”.

How­ever, there is still more to do. The sur­vey shows that there were still wide vari­a­tions in the ma­tu­rity of com­pany pro­grammes. In the worst case, con­ven­tional com­pli­ance ap­proaches can in­crease risk be­cause they lead to a mis­guided sense of com­pla­cency.

Con­trol Risks’ sur­vey re­vealed that com­pa­nies were now more will­ing to chal­lenge when faced with sus­pected cor­rup­tion. Of the re­spon­dent com­pa­nies, 39 per­cent said they would com­plain to a con­tract awarder if they felt they had lost out due to cor­rup­tion (70 per­cent in South Africa), com­pared to just 8 per­cent of re­spon­dents in 2006.

In 2006, only 6.5 per­cent of re­spon­dents said they would ap­peal to law-en­force­ment author­i­ties, com­pared with 19 per­cent of global re­spon­dents in 2015, with 24 per­cent of re­spon­dents (60 per­cent in South Africa) now say­ing they would try to gather ev­i­dence for le­gal ac­tion.

Com­pa­nies felt that in­ter­na­tional anti- ing their suc­cess for a bright fu­ture,” said Her Majesty.

“It is our re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure that chil­dren are loved, their needs cor­rup­tion leg­is­la­tion was im­prov­ing the busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment. Most re­spon­dents felt th­ese laws made it eas­ier for good com­pa­nies to op­er­ate in high-risk mar­kets (55 per­cent) and serve as a de­ter­rent for cor­rupt com­peti­tors (63 per­cent).

This was par­tic­u­larly true of com­pa­nies in de­vel­op­ing mar­kets. Some 79 per­cent of Mex­i­cans agreed or strongly agreed, as well as 68 per­cent of In­done­sians, 64 per­cent of Brazil­ians and 53 per­cent of Nige­ri­ans.

In the US, 54 per­cent of the re­spon­dents said tough laws make it eas­ier to op­er­ate in high risk mar­kets, while 42 per­cent dis­agreed.

How­ever, de­spite th­ese pos­i­tive de­vel­op­ments, Con­trol Risks’ sur­vey sug­gested that com­pa­nies still needed to do more.

Third party risk is still rel­a­tively un­recog­nised. Just 58 per­cent of global re­spon­dents have pro­ce­dures in place for due dili­gence as­sess­ments of third par­ties and only 43 per­cent have third-party au­dit rights.

The sur­vey also sug­gested that com­pa­nies were not set­ting the right in­cen­tives to de­ter cor­rup­tion. Re­spon­dents cited the fear of neg­a­tive con­se­quences as the penalty used most com­monly to de­ter cor­rupt be­hav­iour.

On the list of eight de­ter­rents to cor­rup­tion, in sixth place were com­pany per­for­mance cri­te­ria that em­pha­sise in­tegrity (along with are taken care of and that they grow up to repli­cate the care and warmth they would have grown up re­ceiv­ing.” financial tar­gets). The study also noted that es­tab­lish­ing par­ity be­tween financial tar­gets and anti-cor­rup­tion tar­gets was vi­tal to en­sur­ing com­pli­ance is em­bed­ded into com­pa­nies’ cul­ture.

Com­ment­ing on the sur­vey’s find­ings, Daniel Heal, Se­nior Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor East Africa at Con­trol Risks, said: “Too many busi­nesses are still los­ing out on good op­por­tu­ni­ties to cor­rupt com­peti­tors, or choos­ing not to take a risk on an in­vest­ment or en­ter­ing a new mar­ket in the first place for fear of en­coun­ter­ing cor­rupt prac­tices.

“Com­pa­nies need to find a bal­ance and do more due dili­gence early on in any ne­go­ti­a­tion or mar­ket en­try plan­ning, to spot the points of light in coun­tries that may oth­er­wise ap­pear as no-go ar­eas.”

Heal added; “An­other con­cern is an over­re­liance on com­pli­ance. Of­ten when or­gan­i­sa­tions have com­pre­hen­sive com­pli­ance pro­cesses in place, busi­ness lead­ers treat them as a safety net and don’t po­lice ruth­lessly enough in­ter­nally. More than half of the busi­nesses we sur­veyed hadn’t con­ducted a cor­rup­tion-re­lated in­ves­ti­ga­tion in two years. Given the size and com­plex­ity of most or­gan­i­sa­tions this would sug­gest there is a dan­ger of a false sense of se­cu­rity in com­pli­ance de­part­ments.” — Oneworld

St Paul School for the Blind stu­dents per­form dur­ing the han­dover cer­e­mony yes­ter­day.

Queen ‘Mase­n­ate Bereng Seeiso to­gether with mem­bers of Hlokome­lang Bana and Letshego staff pose for a pic­ture with St Paul pupils.

Queen Mase­n­ate Bereng Seeiso and Letshego COO Beauty Dipuo Mmolotsi dur­ing the han­dover cer­e­mony.

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