The OECD Convention on Combating Bribery in International Business Transactions (Anti-Bribery Convention) was adopted in 1997. Since that time, the number of countries that are Parties to the Convention have grown significantly. Criminal investigations, prosecutions and sanctions for transnational bribery under the Convention has also steadily increased.
Facing an increased threat of criminal enforcement, companies have searched for means to tackle bribe solicitation. This was the context that gave birth to the concept of the High-Level Reporting Mechanism (HLRM) that was developed by the OECD, Basel Institute on Governance, and Transparency International. The Mechanism aims to give companies and sometimes individuals an alternative means for reporting and resolving bribery and corruption issues. This study intends to answer the question: what are the essential ingredients for a successful HLRM?
This study forms part of a three-part project on corporate anti-corruption measures to support sustainable business. The project supports the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG 16 specifically deals with “Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions,” and target 16.5 of this goal is “Substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms.” In particular, the target seeks to decrease the “[p]roportion of businesses that had at least one contact with a public official and that paid a bribe to a public official, or were asked for a bribe by those public officials during the previous 12 months.” This target and indicator recognise that the private sector is a primary actor in the supply side of corruption. Tools such as the HLRM may reduce bribe solicitation and thereby strengthen developing countries’ institutions, and promote their sustainable development.