The elite criminals in our midst!

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Elite Athletes! What about the elite criminals in our midst!

There are elite criminals in our midst. That is a fact, but are there any in procurement? There have been some well publicised cases, including the recent ‘potato’ scandal. It is a reasonable question to ask “How does an elite criminal operate in procurement?” Even as the question is posed we can visualise shaking heads, tut tuts and a wringing of hands! Be that as it may the risk of an elite criminal operating in an organisation cannot be swept under the carpet.

Is it possible to profile an elite criminal and apply it to procurement? Yes, the first warning sign is an impeccable power base where no one has the will or courage to do a challenge. Another indicator is aggressive behaviour towards subordinates, explained as “tough and demanding.” Persistent threats are made to staff and an occasional dismissal perpetuates the modus
operandi. A position of trust is essential for the elite criminal, accompanied by high sign-off levels for contracts. There will be a close relationship with strategic suppliers and engagement in the “high life.” We have heard Formula 1 races, box at Wimbledon, foreign holidays and testing new cars as flawed reasoning for managing supplier relationships. Long tenure in a senior position is vital, simply because there is less likely to be a challenge. An absence of structured and robust auditing of procurement processes and decisions is a motivator for the elite criminal to expand the activities. The corruptive contractors will make sure they employ the elite criminal’s close relations, thereby strengthening the obligation to engage in criminal activity.

Continuing vigilance is required. Internal security, audit and robust systems all have a part to play. What risk analysis is done in your organisation to expose the elite criminal and to define control strategies to minimise the opportunities.

Need a health check on your operation? Please call me, Ray Gambell +44 (0) 1744 20698  or email r.gambell@brianfarrington.com .