“The Americans instituted the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in 1977, but it’s really from about 2008 that they’ve started policing and regulating it. The reason that companies need to be aware of it is because there are massive fines at stake for even intermediaries or third parties that do business with oversees companies,” David Rix, commercial forensics consultant at Caveat Legal, told CNBC Africa.
Rix added that two investigations underway were with payment solutions technology firm Net1, and South African gold mining company Gold Fields. Both are listed on stock exchanges in the US though American depository receipts.
(READ MORE: Corrption and and fraud perception in S.Africa grows)
“Back here in South Africa, they were involved with allegations of certain corrupt activities, and the American Department of Justice is investigating them at the moment. We are looking at multinational jurisdiction,” Rix explained.
“There are several different legislations out there: the American, British, Australian, Russian Brazilian – the American legislation, and especially the United States, are the people that are really reaching out internationally.”
Worldwide, there are roughly 160 countries have signed and acknowledged that anti-corruption is a necessity either with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation Development or the United Nations Convention against Corruption.
Other organisations such as Transparency International and the International Anti-Corruption Academy monitor corruption activity and levels in the world as a means of combatting the vice.
“Now the regulators are reaching out and they are doing the prosecutions, [which] are taking place oversees. Most countries have their own anti-corruption legislation. [South Africa has] the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, [but] it doesn’t really speak to business specifically,” said Rix.
“Businesses need to make sure that they have adequate measures in place and substantial bookkeeping measures and controls in place. They actually need, ideally, to have third party experts come in, draft policies, [make] assessments, due diligences and set the correct tone at the top, put procedures in place and monitor those procedures.”