Those who steal for you will also steal from you

Those who steal for you will also steal from you

Joe Murphy – Compliance & Ethics Professional – November 2015


There was an interesting article in the November/December 2013 issue of ethikos about websites used to report bribery: “Kenyan Website the Latest in a New Breed of Electronic Whistleblower Initiatives.” One insightful example is about a company employee who posted a note on a public, “tell-all” website admitting that he paid a bribe. His boss gave him $100 cash to bribe an official in city hall to obtain a license. The employee pocketed half the bribe money himself, but got the license issued with the remaining amount! Lesson to remember: Those who steal for you will also steal from you. When companies pay bribes, they also invite their own employees to steal from them and commit other dishonest acts that hurt the company. The cost of corruption is even greater than companies think it is.

Of course, those who deal with corruption also know another, related pattern: For those who pay bribes, word gets around and they can become locked into the cycle of paying bribes, even when bribes were completely unnecessary. In some cases, the intermediary or government of cial solicits a bribe and then does nothing to help the company. Last I checked, even in corrupt countries, you can’t bring a breach-of-contract action when your bribe payment does not work out. Doing corrupt and dishonest things has many costs.

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