Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Wipro admits ‘facilitating payments’, denies bribing

New Delhi: IT major Wipro understands clearly the difference between a bribe and 'facilitating payment' and is not averse to giving gifts "in the normal course of business" provided that these do not exceed $50.
"A contribution or entertainment should never be offered under circumstances that might create the appearance of an impropriety. Some very modest gifts with a value not exceeding USD 50 or equivalent currency, appropriate to give in the normal course of business practice may be acceptable," the company says in its code of business conduct and ethics.Wipro, banned for four years from doing business with the World Bank for offering improper benefits to its employees, has questioned the global lender's decision saying it had done nothing wrong.In its code, the company says there is a clear distinction between bribe - a practice of corruptly giving a thing of value in exchange for gaining advantage in favour of the giver or any other person - and 'facilitating payment'. It defines 'facilitating payment' as "payment of money to expedite a routine governmental action to which the giver is otherwise entitled to.
After the World Bank made its decision of 2007 to debar the company for four years, Wipro had said in a statement that it had offered the staff of the global lender shares under a plan approved by the authorities.
It is important for the employees to understand the difference between bribe, which it said was a strict-no, and facilitating payment, the code said, adding that even the latter is discouraged in the company.

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