They did not pay much attention to businesswoman Susana Sierra when, five years ago, she visited several Chilean companies to offer her corporate integrity certification service for companies and organizations. When I left, I went to Peru, Bolivia, and other countries, because they were aware of the vulnerability to corruption, but here the company directors said it was impossible for something like that to happen. They said: ‘No, everyone here has absolute trust’, he says.
Six years later, the string of cases registered in Chile not only proved her right but also earned her the ‘APEC Best Award Business Efficiency and Success Target’, an award given by the economic bloc to BH Compliance, the company of which she is a partner and manager. In short, the proposal puts a stop to corruption in the private sector. The award, according to the jury, which had no Chilean in its ranks, was because Sierra’s company is the one with the greatest international projection in the forum, which has 21 countries, including the U.S., China, Russia, Japan, and Canada and Australia.
Its service, which operates via a website, establishes anti-corruption protocols in the different areas of the companies so that when any strange behavior is detected, alerts are triggered and reported.
Many companies have codes of ethics, policies on how to pay their suppliers, commercial policies, etc., but all this does not serve to prevent crimes from occurring, but rather to have greater efficiency, and generally, these are policies that remain there. At CMPC, for example, they had a previous code of ethics in which they said they were not going to engage in any practice that would undermine free competition,’ says Sierra.
-In what cases of corruption would this system have raised alarm bells?
-In the payments with fraudulent invoices for services not rendered that had another purpose. It would have gone off in the area of suppliers because they were not following their processes properly. The prosecutors would have very good evidence. If a company had invested in Chang, also, because we reviewed the investment policies.
–This system raises alerts. Who picks them up?
-They give visibility to the behaviors and the board can ask: ‘Hey, why is this happening. That, thinking that it is fulfilling its duty to direct, supervise and make sure that it is acting cleanly.
–Which is not always the case?
-No, because especially in these open companies, from La Polar onwards, the board of directors did not act with malice, sometimes one person, but not as a whole, not as a collegiate body. However, in many cases, the response of the board has been ‘I didn’t know, but with the system, the response is not ‘I didn’t know, but ‘I had to know.
-Will corruption continue?
-Yes, corruption is like water, it is always looking for its way.