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77% board members justify corruption, says report

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Despite efforts to address bribery and corruption across Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA), 77 per cent of board members or senior managers still say they could justify unethical behaviour to help a business survive, the latest EY EMEIA Fraud Survey has found.

The study – “Human instinct or machine logic – which do you trust most in the fight against fraud and corruption?” which was released yesterday, surveyed 4,100 employees from large businesses in 41 countries, including Nigeria.

The report stated that 51per cent of respondents to the biennial EY EMEIA Fraud Survey still perceive the problem to be widespread in their country; 27 per cent of all respondents state that it is common practice in their business sector to use bribery to win contracts while only 21per cent of respondents say  they are aware their company has a whistleblowing hotline. According to the survey, senior management are failing to foster a culture of ethical behaviour, with one in three of board members and senior managers saying they are willing to offer cash payments to win or retain business.

However, the study stated that 28 per cent of respondents believe that regulation has had a positive impact on deterring unethical behaviour, an increase of four percentage points from the 2015 survey, with 77 per cent of respondents agreeing that the prosecution of individuals would help deter fraud, bribery and corruption by executives. Interestingly, 74 per cent of respondents from Nigeria agreed to this view.

Specifically, the report stated: “The Generation Y cohort (25 to 34-year-olds), who constitute 32 per cent of respondents, demonstrate more relaxed attitudes toward unethical behaviour, according to the survey findings.

“73per cent state that such behaviour is justified to help a business survive, compared with 49 per cent of 45 to 54-year-olds (Generation X) surveyed who hold this view. Furthermore, 68 per cent of Generation Y respondents believe their management would engage in unethical behaviour to help a business survive and 25per cent of this age group would offer cash payments to win or retain business.”

The study stated: “Generation Y also show a heightened distrust of their co-workers, with 49 per cent believing that their colleagues would be prepared to act unethically to improve their own career progression, compared with 40 per cent across all age groups.”

Commenting on the findings, EY EMEIA Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services Leader, Jim Mc- Curry, said: “Despite positive signs of improvement in some emerging economies, over half (51per cent) of respondents across EMEIA still perceive bribery and corruption as a major challenge. Furthermore, there is worrying evidence of a lack of leadership from senior executives to tackle these issues, which may be negatively influencing the younger generation workforce.

“Companies need to take steps to create a culture in which it is in employees’ interests to do the right thing.

Training and awareness programmes can play a big role in helping individuals understand the consequences of fraud and corruption and encourage them to come  forward if they have concerns over unethical conduct.”

Also, EY West Africa Forensic/ Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services Leader, Linus Osita Okeke, said: “The importance of tone at the top and tone from the top cannot be over-emphasized. Such tone certainly drives the tone at the middle and the top at the bottom.

Board members and senior managers must have to walk the talk if they desire to foster an ethical environment. “Business leaders should constantly question themselves on what they are doing to build a better working world.” The survey’s findings on whistleblowing are especially significant.

It noted: “Despite the fact that whistleblowing hotlines are now considered an important part of a company’s compliance programme, only 21per cent of respondents were aware of such a channel in their company, while 73 per cent would consider providing information directly to a third party such as a law enforcement agency or regulator.

Moreover, 52 per cent of respondents had concerns about misconduct within their organisation. “Of those respondents, 48 per cent felt pressure to withhold information, leading to 56 per cent of this group choosing not to report.

Respondents in emerging markets such as India (27 per cent) and Nigeria (24 per cent) agreed that they are now offered more protection to blow the whistle in comparison to three years ago. However, more limited improvement has been seen in developed markets such as Italy (11 per cent) and France (four per cent),” the report added.

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Business

Onne Customs generate N93.67bn in 2017

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The management of the Onne Area 11 Command of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said it collected a whopping sum of N93.67 billion to the federation account in 2017. It added that the amount is 16.74 per cent less than the target of N112.5 billion given to the command by the Customs headquarters for the review period.

 

Customs Area Controller of the command, Comptroller Abubakar Bashir who disclosed this at the weekend, added that the command also made 26 seizures of contraband goods with a total Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N470 million.

 

According to him, in the same year the command was able to introduce training programmes for its officers and men, and other stakeholders. “It also initiated and co-facilitated a seminar in the Oil and Gas Free Trade Zone entitled ‘’Improved Service Delivery’’ which helped to inform the Command about the challenges faced by operators within the zone. We worked closely with other government agencies to fully implement the presidential directive on the Ease of Doing Business.”

 

Looking into 2018, he said this year that the command was given a revenue target of N117, 811,628,817.11, saying that t so far the command has generated N11, 436,381,551.50.

 

He said in line with the mission and vision of the NCS, the command has once again resolved to improve on the achievements of 2017 by displaying greater diligence in all its activities for 2018.

 

On the command’s anti-smuggling operations, he said from January to date, using the proven method of IT based risk profiling and examination “we were able to discover 9 x 40’ containers carrying 8245 cartons of fake pharmaceuticals consisting of 250mg of Tramadol and Tramaking and other anti malaria and analgesic drugs falsely declared as pressure reducing and PVC valves. The total Duty Paid Value (DPV) of the seizure of pharmaceuticals amounts to N 395,125,912.00. We are particularly delighted by this seizure because we recognise the harmful effect they have especially on our youth and the current national challenge of substance abuse.”

 

He disclosed that the command has also been faithful to the implementation of the government policy to the end that in this quarter, 8 x 20’ containers, coming from Thailand and carrying 4120 bags of rice with a Duty Paid Value of N64, 878,141.48 were seized. These containers were falsely declared as sewing machines with the intent of evading the law. I am glad to report that they have been seized and duly condemned in a court of law.

 

The total Duty Paid Value (DPV) of consignments seized so far in the first quarter of 2018 amounts to N460, 004,053.48. Indeed we are resolute in our determination to bring to an end the nefarious act of the illicit trade in fake pharmaceuticals and other dangerous goods.

 

He also said that so far in 2018, the command has processed various oil and non-oil exports with an FOB value of $90,800,000.00. This is again laudable as the Federal Government’s business policy is also focused on encouraging exports in order to maximise the benefits of accessing the international market.

 

“Recently, one of the Export Inspection Agencies Neroli Technologies Limited officially acknowledged the Command’s 2017 performance as one of the best in the last 12 years of Customs operations within the zone,” he said.

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AutoBeat / Auto Trends

Nissan’s global sales driven by strong momentum in crossover, SUV models

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Nissan’s global crossover and SUV sales increased more than 12 per cent in 2017 to more than two million vehicles, driven by the all-new Nissan Kicks small crossover, the Rogue, X-Trail and Qashqai compact models, a refreshed Armada full-size SUV and the INFINITI QX30 compact luxury crossover.

 

Nissan’s global crossover and SUV models increased nearly 13 per cent, while Infiniti luxury crossovers and SUVs were up almost 9 per cent in 2017. In total, Nissan increased global crossover and SUV volume by nearly 230,000 vehicles last year.

 

 

The Kicks benefited from its first full year of sales in Mexico, Latin America and China, reaching nearly 109,000 sales worldwide. The small crossover will launch this year in the U.S. and Canada and is expected to further accelerate Nissan’s crossover momentum.

 

“The improvement in our global crossover and SUV sales made a significant contribution to Nissan’s growth in 2017,” said Daniele Schillaci, executive vice president for Nissan. “We increased crossover and SUV sales by nearly 230,000 units last year and expect our momentum to accelerate in 2018 as we expand Kicks availability to the U.S. and Canada, execute the global launch of the new Infiniti QX50 luxury midsize crossover and start sales of the Datsun CROSS in Indonesia.”

 

The Nissan Rogue, X-Trail and Qashqai platform mates generated more than 1.38 million sales worldwide in 2017, an increase of 10 per cent, and ranked as Nissan’s No. 1 platform by volume.

 

A refreshed Nissan Armada in the U.S. and continued strong sales of the Nissan Patrol in the Middle East helped sales of that platform increase 79 per cent worldwide to nearly 80,000 vehicles, proving that full-size, body-on-frame SUVs are still in high demand by customers all over the world.

 

At INFINITI, sales of the QX30 compact luxury crossover increased 97 per cent in 2017 to almost 32,000 vehicles during its first full year on sale. The QX80 full-size SUV continued to gain momentum with more than 21,000 sales worldwide.

 

Next month, Infiniti will launch the all-new QX50 midsize crossover. Built on a new platform with stunning interior and exterior design, and featuring an industry-first variable compression ratio engine, called VC-Turbo, as well as advanced semi-autonomous drive functions, the QX50 is in the sweet spot of one of the fastest growing segments in the world. Over the past five years, the premium midsize crossover segment has quadrupled in China and more than doubled in the U.S.

 

Overall, Nissan’s record crossover and SUV sales were led by a 94 per cent improvement in Latin America and 16 per cent improvements in both North America and China.

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AutoBeat / Auto Trends

Weststar breaks into light-duty truck segment with Mercedes-Benz Accelo

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Following its successful launch in 2017, the Mercedes-Benz Accelo has carved its niche in the light-duty commercial vehicle truck segment in Nigeria. Weststar Associates Limited – Authorised General Distributor for Mercedes-Benz in Nigeria said customers can now order the Accelo truck in various applications depending on specific needs.

 

It said that this in line with the ever increasing pressure on businesses to increase efficiency, reduce operating costs and grow revenues.

 

The Sales Manager, Commercial Vehicles, Weststar Associates, Umoh Ekanem, said: “Mercedes-Benz introduced the ‘light-duty truck’ range to deliver unmatched versatility, reliability and efficiency for business owners and fleet managers in a variety of industries. Based on a solid design, the Mercedes-Benz Accelo allows the fitment of several superstructures made to act on the large array of urban transport applications, such as: aluminum standard box body, water tanker, tippers, refrigerated truck body, dry cargo, rescue truck and more.”

 

 

He disclosed that the vehicle is designed to deliver maximum productivity, exceptional driving comfort and the highest standards of safety, adding that it offers exceptional power and agility. “Providing the proven and unmatched Mercedes-Benz quality standards, the robust truck is the perfect partner for transportation needs of all businesses. Its ruggedness, drive comfort, payload and maneuverability are unique features setting the Accelo apart from other commercial vehicles in its segment, thus making it a perfect cost-effective tool for demanding fleets in the private and public sector,” Ekanem said.

 

Sunday Telegraph further learnt that Accelo is fitted with a strong powertrain that ensures premium performance with strength, durability and Mercedes-Benz recognised reliability – comes equipped with a Mercedes-Benz 150 hp four-cylinder engine and boasts a payload of more than five tonnes. The Accelo cab equally has a modern design and ensures the highest level of occupant safety, excellent visibility and an ergonomic interior with the capacity to accommodate a driver and two passengers making the drive more comfortable while increasing driver productivity and alertness – disc brakes in the front and rear also enable fast, accurate response in everyday urban traffic.

 

Meanwhile, Managing Director & CEO of Weststar Associates Limited, Mirko Plath, who also commented on the successful introduction of the Accelo in Nigeria stated that the various requests from customers seeking light-duty trucks under the Mercedes-Benz umbrella stimulated discussions with the manufacturer to explore options within this commercial vehicle segment. “We are happy to deliver trucks in this category”.

 

He said, “Whether long-haul, construction site, or distribution transportation, the Mercedes-Benz brand offers the right solution for the light-duty, medium-duty and heavy-duty truck segments. The Mercedes-Benz brand is indeed a synonym for top-class product and service quality, cost-effectiveness, reliability, and sustainability, as summed up by the slogan ‘Trucks you can trust.” The Accelo, he added is available for immediate delivery through Weststar with quality aftersales support synonymous worldwide with the Mercedes-Benz brand.”

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