Fin24

Walmart bribery review fingers SA

2012-06-13 09:44

Washington - Lawyers for Walmart Stores have flagged Brazil, China, India and South Africa in addition to Mexico as countries that represent the highest corruption risk in a global review, according to a letter from lawmakers investigating the company.

The lawyers said they first reviewed Walmart policies in Mexico, Brazil and China, and later recommended the company also evaluate its operations in India and South Africa.

The lawyers referred to those five countries as regions where the risk was the greatest, according to the lawmakers.

The company has acknowledged it is investigating bribery allegations involving its Mexican operations, and that it initiated a worldwide review of its anti-corruption compliance programme in March 2011, but has not provided details about the review.

According to the letter from representatives Elijah Cummings and Henry Waxman, both Democrats, Walmart continued to review its anti-corruption policies in other countries.

The review led Walmart to revise its programme to include a new procedure for escalating corruption complaints to senior management and the board's audit committee, the letter said.

Cummings and Waxman, who are the ranking members, respectively, of the House Oversight and House Energy committees, asked the company on Tuesday to provide documents about the review and the recommendations.

The pair wrote to Walmart chief executive Michael Duke and also asked him to allow certain witnesses to cooperate with a congressional investigation into the bribery allegations.

"We are cooperating with the ongoing federal investigations, and as appropriate, will also continue to assist members of Congress and their staffs in understanding our efforts to address FCPA issues," Walmart spokesperson David Tovar said in a statement.

Outside lawyers for Walmart at two law firms, Greenberg Traurig and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, briefed the lawmakers on May 21 about the company's programme to comply with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a 1970s-era law that bars bribes to officials of foreign governments.

But the lawyers did not answer any questions about the substance of the bribery allegations, which were brought to light in an April 21 New York Times report that said management at Walmart de Mexico orchestrated bribes of $24m to help it grow quickly in the last decade, and that Walmart's top brass tried to cover it up.

The two lawmakers have previously expressed frustration about the information they have received from Walmart.

While Walmart has tapped the brakes on its growth in Brazil and China, last month Walmart International CEO Doug McMillon said the slowdown was not a result of foreign bribery concerns.

Lawyers for Walmart are scheduled to brief Congressional investigators on Wednesday about the "investigative protocols" the company is using to examine bribery allegations in Mexico, according to the letter. 

Comments
  • fussed.anderson - 2012-06-13 10:03

    SA gov only works on bribery and corruption. So whats the fuss all about

  • mastersvoice - 2012-06-13 10:05

    Hmm - they have pointed out 4 out of 5 BRICS nations...

      Koos - 2012-06-13 11:27

      The only reason Russia is not mention is perhaps because Walmart is not there yet.

  • Koos - 2012-06-13 10:05

    Mostly BRICS countries.

  • thethird.wors - 2012-06-13 10:12

    BRICS.. gotta love it.

  • Sagin - 2012-06-13 10:14

    Duh! is this news? does the whole world not know this by now?

  • Jim Connolly - 2012-06-13 10:25

    Bribery, corruption and nepotism are Standard operating procedure in South Africa.

  • faizieishlah.shabalala - 2012-06-13 10:33

    So Third World

  • John Doeslough - 2012-06-13 10:43

    South Africa a corruption risk? Noooooooo! You don't say?! Thanks for pointing the obvious!

  • fussed.anderson - 2012-06-13 10:51

    Walmart, you could learn a lot from the sa gov, so start taking notes

  • sycomachinery - 2012-06-13 10:52

    Isn't Wallmart the most corrupt company in the world, I wonder what's their problem.

  • nadia.chotu - 2012-06-13 13:23

    "come Comrades.... let us spur into action. Let us all march against this. Securing jobs and ensuring that countries looking to invest in our country believe in us.... come Comrades let us mobilise for this worthy cause.... corruption will not be tolerated!"..... # SORRY - forgot our governemnt only takes action against paintings and words like "refugee" and for R100 million parties! # MY BADDDD!

  • richard.hipkin - 2012-06-13 13:29

    Walmart is not even trading in SA yet...

      slick.hounder - 2012-06-18 18:25

      LOL ... Walmart has been trading under the Mass Mart Holdings Banner which they OWN in South Africa for AGES!! Catch a wake up sheesh!!!

      slick.hounder - 2012-06-18 18:27

      And that's OWN outright!! Research how HUGE Mass Mart Holdings is in the RSA too!!

  • eddie.monale - 2012-06-13 14:29

    Proving once again that corruption is a global problem. Law enforcement agencies have to work in collaboration more effectively to root this problem out. The country continues to be shocked by bribery allegations against MTN. This matter is akin to the Arms Deal saga and one wonders of the skeletons lurking in the commodities sector, given the scramble for commodities on the African continent.

  • eddie.monale - 2012-06-13 14:30

    Proving once again that corruption is a global problem. At least we fought tooth and nail to be with the right crowd, i.e. BRICS. Law enforcement agencies have to work in collaboration more effectively to root this problem out. The country continues to be shocked by bribery allegations against MTN. This matter is akin to the Arms Deal saga and one wonders of the skeletons lurking in the commodities sector, given the scramble for commodities on the African continent.

  • tumelo.matlotlo - 2012-06-14 14:58

    Wow, nice going Walmart. A corrupt ridden company using corrupt methods to fight a corrupt ridden country that went to court to force a corrupt company to follow the corrupt country's investment policies.

      anette.smith.16 - 2012-07-12 14:05

      Could not have said it better!!!

  • leslie.rabie - 2012-07-12 14:15

    and we are suprised ...... WHY???

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