Anti-Corruption Policy

Introduction

One of Bendaña & Bendaña’s (The Company) core values is to uphold responsible and fair business practices. It is committed to promoting and maintaining the highest level of ethical standards in relation to all of its business activities. Its reputation for maintaining lawful business practices is of paramount importance and this Policy is designed to preserve these values. The Company therefore has a zero tolerance policy towards bribery and corruption and is committed to acting fairly and with integrity in all of its business dealings and relationships and implementing and enforcing effective systems to counter bribery.

Purpose and scope of Policy

This Policy sets out the Company’s position on any form of bribery and corruption and provides guidelines aimed at:

  • Ensuring compliance with anti-bribery laws, rules and regulations, not just within Nicaragua but in any other country within which the Company may carry out its business or in relation to which its business may be connected.

  • Enabling employees and persons associated with the Company to understand the risks associated with bribery and to encourage them to be vigilant and effectively recognize, prevent and report any wrongdoing, whether by themselves or others.

  • Providing suitable and secure reporting and communication channels and ensuring that any information that is reported is properly and effectively dealt with.

  • Creating and maintaining a rigorous and effective framework for dealing with any suspected instances of bribery or corruption.

This Policy applies to all permanent and temporary employees of the Company (including any of its intermediaries, subsidiaries or associated companies). It also applies to any individual or corporate entity associated with the Company or who performs functions in relation to, or for and on behalf of, the Company, including, but not limited to, directors, agency workers, casual workers, contractors, consultants, seconded staff, agents, suppliers and sponsors (“associated persons”). All employees and associated persons are expected to adhere to the principles set out in this Policy.

Legal obligations

The Nicaraguan legislation on which this Policy is based is Law No. 581, Special Law on the Crime of Bribery and Crimes against International Commerce and Investment (Ley Especial del Delito de Cohecho y Delitos Contra el Comercio Internacional e Inversión Internacional), and it applies to the Company’s conduct both in Nicaragua and abroad. A bribe is an inducement or reward offered, promised or provided in order to gain any commercial, contractual, regulatory or personal advantage.

It is an offence in Nicaragua to:

  • Request, agree to receive or accept a financial or other advantage (i.e. receive a bribe) for or in relation to improper conduct .

  • Offer, promise or give a financial or other advantage to another person (i.e. bribe a person), whether within the Nicaragua or abroad, with the intention of inducing or rewarding improper conduct.

  • Bribe a public official.

Such offences incur in fines as well as sentences from three to six years for natural persons. In addition to the personal responsibility of the parties involved, legal entities can be sanctioned as follows:

  • Closing of the company and its branches, temporarily or permanently.

  • Annulment of the entity’s legal status.

  • Suspension of the entity’s activities for a term of up to three years.

  • Prohibited from conducting future business operations or activities in business sector in which the offense was committed, temporarily or permanently. If temporary, up to a maximum of three years.

  • The state will intervene in the management of the entity to ensure that the rights of employees or creditors for a maximum of three years.

Policy statement

All employees and associated persons are required to:

  • Comply with any anti-bribery and anti-corruption legislation that applies in any jurisdiction in any part of the world in which they might be expected to conduct business.

  • Act honestly, responsibly and with integrity.

  • Safeguard and uphold the Company’s core values by operating in an ethical, professional and lawful manner at all times.

Bribery of any kind is strictly prohibited. Under no circumstances should any provision be made, money set aside or accounts created for the purposes of facilitating the payment or receipt of a bribe.

The Company recognizes that industry practices may vary from country to country or from culture to culture. What is considered unacceptable in one place may be normal or usual practice in another. Nevertheless, a strict adherence to the guidelines set out in this Policy is expected of all employees and associated persons at all times. If in doubt as to what might amount to bribery or what might constitute a breach of this Policy, refer the matter to your supervisor or to the Company’s Anti-Corruption Officer.

Receiving of Gifts

Regarding the receipt of business gifts from third parties and corporate hospitality offered to or received from third parties, and in an effort to demonstrate our commitment to these standards and behavior, all employees must abide by the following no-gift policy requirements.

No gifts of any kind, that are offered by vendors, suppliers, customers, potential employees, potential vendors and suppliers, or any other individual or organization, no matter the value, will be accepted by any employee, at any time, on or off the work premises. “Gift,” means any item including pens, hats, t-shirts, mugs, calendars, bags, key chains, portfolios, and other free promotional items as well as items of greater value.

  • This no-gift policy includes vendor or potential vendor or supplier-provided food, beverages, meals, or entertainment such as sporting events.

  • This no-gift policy includes any business courtesy offered such as a product discount or any other benefit if the benefit is not extended to all employees.

Gift Policy Exceptions:

Exempted from this policy are gifts such as t-shirts, pens, trade show bags and all other free promotional items that employees obtain, as members of the public, at events such as conferences, training events, seminars, and trade shows, that are offered equally to all members of the public attending the event.

This includes any food, beverages, and free promotional items provided at events, exhibitor trade show floor locations, press events, and parties funded by conference or event sponsors.

  • Exempted are cards, thank you notes, certificates, or other written forms of thanks and recognition.

  • Exempted are food, beverages, and moderately priced meals or tickets to local events that are supplied by and also attended by current customers, partners, and vendors or suppliers in the interest of building positive business relationships.

This moderately priced entertainment is provided as part of a “working” meeting or session to benefit and advance positive working relationships and company interests. These activities are expected to be reciprocated by our company in turn.

Employees are required to professionally inform vendors, potential vendors and others of this no-gift policy, and the reasons the company has adopted the policy. Employees will request that vendors respect our company policy and not purchase and deliver any gift for our employees, a department, an office or the company, at any time, for any reason.

If an employee or department receives a gift:

  • If feasible, the gift is returned to the vendor.

  • If not feasible to return the gift, the gift must be raffled off to all employees. Proceeds from the raffle will be donated to a charity that the philanthropy committee has identified for the calendar year. If employees are uninterested in the raffled item, the gift will be donated to a designated charity.

  • Plants or flowers will be displayed in the lobby, or at another central location where all employees may enjoy their presence.

  • Gifts of food that may arrive during the holidays, and at other times of the year when gift giving is traditional, belong to the entire staff even if addressed to a single employee. Under no circumstances may an employee take a food gift home; food gifts must be shared with and distributed to all staff, with email notice, during work hours, in central, worksite locations.

This policy is supplemental to other company codes of conduct, ethics, standards, values, and policies in the employee handbook and in other company documents. If any employee has questions about and / or needs clarification of any aspect of this policy, the employee should check with their supervisor. If the supervisor is uncertain, Human Resources is the arbiter of the gift policy to ensure consistent employee treatment across the company. Any exceptions to the gift policy may be made only with the permission of the company president.

This policy takes the place of any earlier policy and is effective: January 1, 2016. All employees must acknowledge that they have received and understand the company gift policy.

Giving of gifts

The giving of business gifts to clients, customers, contractors and suppliers is not prohibited provided the following requirements are met:

  • The gift is not made with the intention of influencing a third party to obtain or retain business or a business advantage, or to reward the provision or retention of business or a business advantage.

  • It complies with local laws.

  • It is given in the Company’s name, not in the giver’s personal name.

  • It does not include cash or a cash equivalent (such as gift vouchers).

  • It is of an appropriate and reasonable type and value and given at an appropriate time.

  • It is given openly, not secretly.

  • It is approved in advance by a director of the Company.

In summary, it is not acceptable to give, promise to give, or offer, a payment, gift or hospitality with the expectation or hope that a business advantage will be received, or to reward a business advantage already given, or to accept a payment, gift or hospitality from a third party that you know or suspect is offered or provided with the expectation that it will obtain a business advantage for them.

Any payment or gift to a public official or other person to secure or accelerate the prompt or proper performance of a routine government procedure or process, otherwise known as a “facilitation payment”, is also strictly prohibited.

Responsibilities and reporting procedure

It is the contractual duty and responsibility of all employees and associated persons to take whatever reasonable steps are necessary to ensure compliance with this Policy and to prevent, detect and report any suspected bribery or corruption. You must immediately disclose to the Company any knowledge or suspicion you may have that you, or any other employee or associated person, has plans to offer, promise or give a bribe or to request, agree to receive or accept a bribe in connection with the business of the Company. For the avoidance of doubt, this includes reporting your own wrongdoing. The duty to prevent, detect and report any incident of bribery and any potential risks rests not only with the directors of the Company but equally to all employees and associated persons.

The Company encourages all employees and associated persons to be vigilant and to report any unlawful conduct, suspicions or concerns promptly and without undue delay so that investigation may proceed and any action can be taken expeditiously. In the event that you wish to report an instance or suspected instance of bribery, you should follow the steps set out in the Company’s Disclosures in the Public Interest Policy. Confidentiality will be maintained during the investigation to the extent that this is practical and appropriate in the circumstances. The Company is committed to taking appropriate action against bribery and corruption. This could include either reporting the matter to an appropriate external government department, regulatory agency or the police and/or taking internal disciplinary action against relevant employees and/or terminating contracts with associated persons.

The Company will support anyone who raises genuine concerns in good faith under this Policy, even if they turn out to be mistaken. It is also committed to ensuring nobody suffers any detrimental treatment as a result of refusing to take part in bribery or corruption, or because of reporting in good faith their suspicion that an actual or potential bribery or corruption offence has taken place or may take place in the future.

Record keeping

All accounts, receipts, invoices and other documents and records relating to dealings with third parties must be prepared and maintained with strict accuracy and completeness. No accounts must be kept “off the record” to facilitate or conceal improper payments.

Sanctions for breach

A breach of any of the provisions of this Policy will constitute a disciplinary offence and will be dealt with in accordance with the Company’s disciplinary procedure. Depending on the gravity of the offence, it may be treated as gross misconduct and could render the employee liable to summary dismissal.

As far as associated persons are concerned, a breach of this Policy could lead to the suspension or termination of any relevant contract, sub-contract or other agreement.

Monitoring compliance

The Company’s Anti-Corruption Officer has lead responsibility for ensuring compliance with this Policy and will review its contents on a regular basis. They will be responsible for monitoring its effectiveness and will provide regular reports in this regard to the directors of the Company who have overall responsibility for ensuring this Policy complies with the Company’s legal and ethical obligations.

Training

The Company will provide training to all employees to help them understand their duties and responsibilities under this Policy. The Company’s zero tolerance approach to bribery will also be communicated to all business partners at the outset of the business relationship with them and as appropriate thereafter.

All questions or requests for information should be directed to María José Jirón Bendaña, Anti-Corruption Officer for Bendaña & Bendaña.

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