Anti – Corruption Policy
- Policy Statement
The purpose of this policy is to protect RNA, Technology and IP Attorneys (hereinafter referred to as ‘RNA’) from breaches of bribery and anti-corruption laws and to educate its employees and third party to be honest in its dealings. RNA does not tolerate any form of corruption and/ or bribery and is committed to complying with applicable bribery and anti-corruption laws in all countries in which RNA conducts business.
RNA requires its Employees (defined below) at all times to act honestly and with integrity. RNA will not tolerate any Employee or Third Party (defined below) being involved in any level of bribery or corruption. Employees and Third Parties are required to report any circumstances which are in breach of RNA’s Anti-Corruption Policy.
All reported incidences of actual or suspected bribery or corruption will be promptly and thoroughly investigated and dealt with appropriately.
- Compliance with Anti-Corruption Laws
RNA and its employees must make every endeavour to comply with a variety of anti-corruption laws. These laws apply to our interactions with governments and government officials. They also cover our dealings with clients and suppliers, as well as the dealings of third parties acting on our behalf.
RNA its lawyers, its employees and its contractors have important obligations under various anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws, including but not limited to Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, which covers, among other things, the corrupt payment of bribes to government officials.
- Application of this Policy
This policy applies to all Employees of RNA and Third Parties performing duties for or on behalf of RNA whether or not directly employed by RNA.
- Definitions of Terms Used in this Policy
Bribe: This includes:
- Offering, promising or giving anything of value to improperly influence another in order to obtain business for RNA; or
- Requesting or accepting anything of value as a reward for or as an inducement to act improperly in relation to the awarding of business by RNA.
Bribes can include money, gifts, hospitality, entertainment, expenses, reciprocal favours, political or charitable contributions, or any direct or indirect benefit or consideration.
Employees: All employees/associates performing duties on behalf of RNA, whether or not employed directly by RNA.
Facilitation Payments: Payments that are requested by Government Officials (whether in India or overseas countries) to speed up a routine government action may include such as:
- Processing official documents that RNA file at the High Court, Patent and trademark office etc;
- Filing complaints with police and other authorities against infringement of IP rights; and
- Working with Customs, Legal metreology and other government agencies for enforcement of IP rights.
Government Officials: Officials of any government department or agency; officials of any public international organisation (e.g., the United Nations); political parties and party leaders; candidates for public office; executives and employees of government-owned or government-run companies (such as a doctor in a state-controlled hospital); anyone acting on behalf of any of these officials; and an individual holding a legislative, administrative or judicial/ quasi-judicial position; any person who is remunerated out of public money and/or government funds or who performs a public duty.
Third Party/Parties: Include agents; brokers; partners; consultants; contractors; joint venture partners; and other representatives performing work for the benefit of RNA.
- Bribery and Corruption
It is illegal and against the employee terms and condition of employment/engagement to pay or receive a Bribe whether paid or received directly or indirectly. There is no need for the Bribe to be successful to be viewed as corrupt.
These principles apply equally in any jurisdiction in which RNA operates or carries on business.
- Facilitation Payments
It is illegal to make any sort of payment or give anything of value to a Government Official where this is to obtain or retain business or some other commercial advantage for RNA or in your personal capacity.
In some countries, it may be customary for Government Officials to request Facilitation Payments. However, Facilitation Payments made anywhere in the world are prohibited by RNA and you must not make payments regardless of local custom.
- Gifts, Hospitality, Entertainment and Travel Expenses
Provision of business gifts, hospitality and business entertainment to a Government Official is prohibited and may be considered a Bribe unless prior authorisation is obtained from the Partner in writing who will determine whether the proposed activity is permissible under applicable laws.
- Political and Charitable Donations
Political and charitable donations are allowed provided the donation is not made for the personal, financial, or political benefit of any Government Official, or any customer/supplier/Third Party (or their families). Donations must not be made to improperly influence the recipient or in exchange for any business advantage. Prior approval from Partner must be obtained before requesting or authorising any donations.
- Third Party Payments, Use of Agents and Due Diligence
You must not make a payment to a Third Party if you know or suspect that the person may use or offer all or a portion of the payment directly or indirectly as a Bribe.
It is responsibility of every employee tasked with engaging thirds parties to ensure that third parties engaged on behalf of RNA are legitimate service providers. Before engaging any such party you are required to undertake appropriate due diligence checks. This will include a corruption risk assessment of factors
When dealing with Third Parties, the below red flags should act as a checklist (as part of your due diligence referred to above) as indicators of potential violations of anti-bribery or anti-corruption laws include:
- A Government Official recommends that RNA hires a specific third party;
- The proposed compensation of a Third Party retained by RNA is unreasonably high compared to the market rate without a reasonable explanation;
- A Third Party retained by RNA requests that payments be made off-shore; to an unknown third party; be split among multiple accounts; be made to an account in a country other than where the third party or agent is located or business is to be performed; or any other unusual financial arrangements;
- A Third Party that RNA seeks to retain lacks qualifications or staff to perform the expected services;
- A Third Party relies heavily on political or government contacts instead of technical skills or time invested;
- Upon checking references, you find that the Third Party has an unsavoury reputation or is not well known in the industry;
- A Third Party that RNA seeks to retain will not agree to terms requiring compliance with anti-corruption laws; or
- The same Third Party is repeatedly used for business without any reasonable justification for their repeated appointment.
If you are in any doubt whatsoever about the legitimacy of a proposed Third Party you must discuss your concerns with the Partner supervising your work prior to entering into any arrangements with the Third Party.
You should ensure that any Third Party acting on RNA’s behalf receives a copy of this policy. As a matter of course you should also provide a copy of this policy with any new agreement entered into with a Third Party.
- Obligations to Report Breaches of Anti-Corruption Laws
Employees and Third Parties are required to draw attention to circumstances where they believe that there may have been breaches of this Policy or related improper behaviour by other Employees or Third Parties.
All matters will be dealt with in confidence and in strict accordance with relevant legislation, which protects the legitimate personal interests of employees.
- Enforcement and Discipline
RNA views corruption and bribery very seriously. RNA will investigate all allegations of corruption and take legal and/or disciplinary action in all cases where it is considered appropriate.
Where a case is referred to the police or other law enforcement agency, RNA will co-operate fully with the criminal investigation which could lead to the Employee being prosecuted.
- Purchasing Policies and Suppliers
It is important to the RNA’s reputation, and legal liability, that all employees must engage only suppliers who comply with all applicable laws, including but not limited to those related to human rights, labour rights (including forced labour), and applicable employment, environmental, anti-corruption, fair competition and intellectual property laws. If you have any doubts or concerns about a supplier, contact the Partner supervising the case/project.
- Business Entertainment and Courtesies
Our Client Service Principles encourage us to get to know our clients personally and “turn relationships into friendships.” But we must always keep in mind that client relationships are business relationships and certain lines must not be crossed. We must be particularly careful not to offer, give, ask for or accept gifts, entertainment or other similar benefits with the intent of obtaining or retaining business or otherwise improperly influencing the client’s decisions or business affairs.
Appropriate business courtesies are not considered to be bribes. To ensure that the exchange of business courtesies could not be construed as a form of bribery, business courtesies should be all of the following:
- Of appropriate value and compliant with applicable laws;
- Consistent with the polices of both the giver’s and the recipient’s employer;
- In no way offered or accepted with the intent of obtaining or retaining business or otherwise improperly influencing a company’s business affairs or decisions, or our own behaviour; and
- Properly approved and reported.
In all matters, you should use sensible judgment to determine whether what is proposed could be seen to be inconsistent with these principles. If in doubt, seek guidance from a Partner at RNA.
Who Should I Contact with Questions?
Questions regarding this Statement should be directed to the Partners of RNA.